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Robert Gildea

Tuesday 27th February

Topping & Company Booksellers of St Andrews, 7 Greyfriars Garden, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9HG
Doors Open
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Robert Gildea on Backbone of the Nation

Robert Gildea is the Emeritus Oxford Professor of Modern History and 2003's Wolfson Prize winner. He joins us in 2024 to give a talk on Backbone of the Nation, his powerful new history of the Great Strike in the miners' own voices, based on more than 140 interviews with former miners and their families.

Join us at the bookshop for an evening with one of Britain's foremost contemporary historians and commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Great Strike's beginning.

Forty years ago, Arthur Scargill led the National Union of Mineworkers on one of the largest strikes in British history. A deep sense of pride existed within Britain's mining communities who thought of themselves as the backbone of the nation's economy. But they were vilified by Margaret Thatcher's government and eventually broken: deprived of their jobs, their livelihoods, and in some cases, their lives.

In this groundbreaking new history, Robert Gildea interviews those miners and their families who fought to defend themselves. Exploring mining communities from South Wales to the Midlands, Yorkshire, County Durham, and Fife, Gildea shows how the miners and their families organized to protect themselves, and how a network of activists mobilized to support them.

Amid the recent wave of industrial action in the United Kingdom, Backbone of the Nation highlights anew the importance of labor organization-and intimately records the triumphs, losses, and resilience of these mining communities.

Robert Gildea is professor emeritus of modern history at the University of Oxford. He is the author of Fighters in the Shadows, Empires of the Mind, and the Wolfson Prize-winning Marianne in Chains.