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GB84 (Revolutionary Writing) Paperback – 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571258204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571258208
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,347,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John L Murphy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 13, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
"The Iron Lady would vanquish King Coal." So portends this struggle between Thatcher and Arthur Scargill, whether privatization and capitalism or nationalization and collective control would win, when pitted against miners on strike, or scabbing, between March 1984 and 1985. This may not seem promising content for a novel, but David Peace drills down into densely patterned, intricately plotted, yet superficially simply told narratives that track a few men committed to different goals during this grim year. They are predestined to meet.

"The Jew" is a rabble-rousing reactionary publicist who uses the tabloids and his shadowy contacts to foment discontent with the strikers. He adores Margaret Thatcher. "His eyes never leave her face; hope never leaves his heart." So reports after a visit by the Prime Minister the "Jew" Stephen Sweet's henchman, Neil Fontaine. Neil carries out subversion to undermine the strike. This strand of the novel intertwines with Terry Winters, who carries out orders of "King Arthur," the President of the militant miners. Terry in turn courts Diane, who it turns out was the wife of Malcolm Morris. His third plot-strand spins out in less clear fashion, but he evidently has a long career, from Ulster 1969 on, and he has been compromised to work for the government. Why exactly, typically here, is occluded.

Peace blurs a lot. His language is so sparse and declamatory that it's rare to have any descriptive passages that stand out. His characters' tell of their endless driving and diversion, and while every motorway junction and byway is recorded obsessively, the look and feel of England when "two tribes go to war" is dulled, intentionally.
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This is a unique treatment of the clash between the miners and Mrs. Thatcher, in the tradition of Kes, Brassed Off and now Pride. I don't know why it took me so long to read this book but it was a very moving treatment of a contentious topic. Having read Orwell and gone down a mine (if only a training one), I would not want anyone to work down the mines. Moreover, I have mixed views of trade unions and their history, and I was no admirer of Mr. Scargill, but this book exposes what I do believe were the twisted values of Thatcherism and her "selfish society", even if society did not exist
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If you want a book that is politically fascinating, that makes you angry and keeps you reading, this is it. The multiple voices used by David Peace make this a mosaic of possible interpretations of the 1984 miner's strike in Great Britain. This strike tore the heart out of the union movement, and pretty much ended coal mining in the UK. It reads like a mystery novel, with level after level of intrigue being exposed. And it keeps you turning the pages.
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This is a bleak novel about Thatcher's Britain and the hopeless miners' strike of 84. It explores the limits of human endurance in the face of indifference from fellow countrymen, police brutality and personal betrayal. Not an easy read but it rings true.
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