Black Gold: The History of How Coal Made Britain

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Black Gold: The History of How Coal Made Britain

Black Gold: The History of How Coal Made Britain

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I found the book very informative and it explained well the plight of the average miner and not only the working conditions they suffered under but the constant strife on wages and working hours particularly with mine owners. Alas her abhorrent politics continues to loom large in a Britain that is going the same way as coal has. I was disappointed that there was virtually no mention of the technological advancements to clean up the coal burning industries - like electrostatic precipitators and scrubbers - and the effect they had. Much of this was inevitable, as railways shifted to diesel, and electricity generation moved to oil, gas and nuclear.

Boris Johnson’s sardonic reference to Margaret Thatcher’s “big early start” towards renewable energy has come at the perfect time for Jeremy Paxman’s Black Gold, a history of how Britain industrialised, modernised and thrived. His regular appearances on the BBC2's Newsnight programme have been criticised as aggressive, intimidating, condescending and irreverent, and applauded as tough and incisive. It was a good book to this uninformed reader but perhaps experts would know if this was sensationalist or a fair account, because it felt on the popular side. This was a great read and whilst Britain’s dominance in the Industrial revolution was based on coal for which we are grateful I feel annoyed that miners were an ignored underclass with such a poor deal. It describes how the closure of almost all pits in the 1980s and 1990s meant the end of the social institutions that had been built around the mines.Many of his most vivid descriptions, however, are of unbearable suffering, as he tells the stories of some of the worst coal-mining disasters. Paxman gives a lucid account of the growing demands for better conditions, the counterarguments of the pit owners, the protests and strikes, and the eventual major legal changes: the shift to national ownership of coal underground in 1938, and the complete nationalisation of the industry in 1947. Such combinations of omitting important facts with a lack of rhetorical strategies that might cover for them weaken an intriguing and often convincing argument. He has also written many books including the best-selling The English, On Royalty and Friends in High Places. Written in the captivating style of his best-selling book The English, Paxman ranges widely across Britain to explore stories of engineers and inventors, entrepreneurs and industrialists - but whilst coal inevitably helped the rich become richer, the story told by Black Gold is first and foremost a history of the working miners - the men, women and often children who toiled in appalling conditions down in the mines; the villages that were thrown up around the pit-head.

I thought this a fascinating telling of the business that was so needed at one point, has in all likelihood done irreversible damage (and is still doing around the world) to our planet and is closing down in the western world. Although all her readings of individual novels are both interesting and point to aspects of the books in question that others may not have noticed, they do not always convince and too often appear to depend upon peripheral or minor points. It sets out the history of the coal business in the UK, particularly concentrating on three aspects. The book is so very interesting, but the vanishing of the reader's voice at every subordinate clause is unbearable. The person who really defined Tory policy was not Ridley or Thatcher but Arthur Scargill, who became leader of the NUM in 1982.

Ebooks fulfilled through Glose cannot be printed, downloaded as PDF, or read in other digital readers (like Kindle or Nook). Whilst this was an interesting read, which aimed to provide a balanced view of the history of coal in Britain, I was left thinking that there were too few voices of the miners in the narrative.

The book is remarkably sympathetic to the miners and their families, so many of whom suffered terribly during the industry’s emergence. The book is a grim read, with its details of horrific mining accidents, the working conditions, disputes, deadly smogs and exploitation. Yet Paxman’s book could hardly be more colourful, and I enjoyed every page enormously … A mining community, as Paxman points out, was not just a place of dirt and danger. The one criticism I will level at Paxman is that he's political views can sometimes become all too clear I think he should have taken a more neutral view at times.Some parts of the book were rather too political for my taste, but overall it was an interesting read. A 1914 calculation showed that a miner was severely injured every two hours, and one killed every six hours.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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