Black Gold

by Jeremy Paxman

£25.00

History; Science

Hardback

9780008128340

Published by HarperCollins Publishers

Published September 2021

Books > History > Science

The History of How Coal Made Britain

Where would Britain be without coal? In brilliant social history, Jeremy Paxman tells the story of how the black stuff has shaped every aspect of Britain.

Coal is the commodity that made Britain. Dirty and polluting though it is, this black rock acted as a midwife to genius. It drove industry, religion, politics, empire, trade. It powered the industrial revolution, turned Britain into the first urban nation and is the industry that made almost all others possible.

In this brilliant social history, bestselling author and broadcaster Jeremy Paxman tells the story of coal mining in England, Scotland and Wales from Roman times, through the birth of steam power to war, nationalisation, pea-souper smogs, industrial strife and the picket lines of the Miner’s Strike.

But whilst the rich inevitably became 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; the brass bands, nonconformist religion and passionate horticulture that flourished in mining communities. And the development of trade unionism and the Labour movement as tight bonds of comradeship were formed underground. ‘The two greatest industrial strikes of the 20th century – both detailed here – were both about coal.

Down the mineshafts, conditions were appalling with little or no time spent on safety. Multiple and tragically frequent pit tragedies including Aberfan are catalogued here. As Engels put it: ‘there is no occupation in which a man may meet his end in so many diverse ways as this one’.

Almost all traces of coal-mining have vanished from Britain but with this brilliant history, Black Gold demonstrates just how much we owe to the black stuff.

Inside Qatar by John McManus | 9781785788215

Inside Qatar

John McManus

£10.99

Mary Churchill’s War by Emma Soames | 9781529341522

Mary Churchill’s War

Emma Soames

£12.99

England’s Villages by Dr Ben Robinson | 9781788704601

England’s Villages

Dr Ben Robinson

£10.99

Russia by Antony Beevor | 9781474610148

Russia

Antony Beevor

£30.00

The Shortest History of Greece by James Heneage | 9781913083243

The Shortest History of Greece

James Heneage

£8.99

The Spy who was left out in the Cold by Tim Tate | 9780552177689

The Spy who was left out in the Cold

Tim Tate

£10.99