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Nolan King
Nolan King

GB84: How David Peace Captured the Drama and Violence of the Miners' Strike in His Novel

David Peace GB84: A Gripping Novel About The Miners' Strike of 1984

If you are looking for a thrilling and engaging novel that will take you back to one of the most turbulent and controversial periods in British history, then you should read David Peace GB84. This book is a fictionalized account of the miners' strike of 1984-85, which pitted the coal miners and their unions against the Conservative government led by Margaret Thatcher. The strike was a bitter and violent struggle that divided the country and had lasting consequences for both sides.

david peace gb84 epub download

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about this amazing book, including its author, plot, themes, reception, and how to download it in EPUB format. By the end of this article, you will have a clear idea of why this book is a must-read for anyone interested in British politics, history, and culture.

The Author: David Peace

David Peace is a British novelist who was born in 1967 in Ossett, West Yorkshire. He grew up in a mining town during the strike and witnessed its effects firsthand. He later moved to Tokyo, Japan, where he worked as an English teacher and wrote his first novels. He is known for his gritty and realistic style that blends crime fiction, historical fiction, and political fiction.


David Peace started writing at an early age, inspired by his love for literature and music. He studied English Literature at Manchester Polytechnic and graduated in 1991. He then moved to Istanbul, Turkey, where he taught English for a year. In 1994, he moved to Tokyo, Japan, where he lived for eleven years and wrote his first four novels, collectively known as the Red Riding Quartet. These novels are set in Yorkshire in the 1970s and 1980s and deal with the crimes of the Yorkshire Ripper, police corruption, and social decay.

In 2003, he returned to the UK and wrote GB84, his fifth novel and his first one to focus on the miners' strike. He then moved to Tokyo again and wrote The Damned Utd, a novel about the legendary football manager Brian Clough and his brief tenure at Leeds United in 1974. He followed this with Red or Dead, a novel about another football icon, Bill Shankly, and his career at Liverpool FC from 1959 to 1974. He also wrote Tokyo Year Zero and Occupied City, two novels that are part of a planned trilogy about post-war Japan.

David Peace currently lives in Tokyo with his wife and two children. He is working on his next novel, which will be the third and final part of his Tokyo trilogy.


David Peace is widely regarded as one of the most original and innovative writers of his generation. He has a distinctive style that is characterized by short sentences, repetition, fragmentation, multiple perspectives, and stream of consciousness. He uses these techniques to create a sense of urgency, intensity, and realism in his novels. He also uses historical facts, documents, media reports, and interviews to add authenticity and depth to his stories.

David Peace's style has been compared to that of James Ellroy, another writer who mixes crime fiction and historical fiction. However, Peace has also been influenced by other writers such as George Orwell, Graham Greene, Alan Sillitoe, David Storey, and John le Carré. He has also acknowledged the impact of music on his writing, especially punk rock and post-punk bands such as The Clash, Joy Division, The Fall, and The Smiths.

Other works

As we mentioned before, David Peace has written nine novels so far, and he is working on his tenth one. Here is a brief overview of his other works:

  • The Red Riding Quartet: This is a series of four novels that are set in Yorkshire in the 1970s and 1980s. They are: Nineteen Seventy-Four (1999), Nineteen Seventy-Seven (2000), Nineteen Eighty (2001), and Nineteen Eighty-Three (2002). They deal with the crimes of the Yorkshire Ripper, police corruption, and social decay. They were adapted into a TV series in 2009.

  • The Damned Utd (2006): This is a novel about the legendary football manager Brian Clough and his brief tenure at Leeds United in 1974. It is based on real events but also includes fictional elements. It was adapted into a film in 2009.

  • Red or Dead (2013): This is a novel about another football icon, Bill Shankly, and his career at Liverpool FC from 1959 to 1974. It is a tribute to his achievements and his legacy.

  • Tokyo Trilogy: This is a series of three novels that are set in post-war Japan. They are: Tokyo Year Zero (2007), Occupied City (2009), and Patient X (forthcoming). They deal with the aftermath of World War II, the American occupation, and the crimes of the serial killer Yoshio Kodaira.

All of these novels are related to GB84 in some way, as they explore themes such as politics, history, violence, truth, and justice. They also showcase David Peace's talent for creating compelling characters and gripping narratives.

The Plot: A Fictionalized Account of The Strike

GB84 is a novel that tells the story of the miners' strike of 1984-85 from different angles and perspectives. It is not a historical account but a fictionalized one that mixes real events with imaginary ones. It has six main characters who represent different aspects of the strike:


  • Terry Winters: He is the president of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the leader of the strike. He is based on Arthur Scargill, the real-life president of the NUM at the time. He is a charismatic and passionate figure who believes in the cause of the miners and their rights. He is also stubborn and uncompromising, which leads him to clash with the government and some of his own colleagues.

the government in 1976. He is a cold and ruthless figure who orchestrates a secret campaign to undermine and sabotage the strike. He uses spies, informers, agents provocateurs, and dirty tricks to infiltrate and manipulate the union and the miners.

  • Neil Fontaine: He is a wealthy businessman who owns a private security company called the Coal Board Liaison Group (CBLG). He is based on David Hart, a right-wing millionaire who funded and advised the breakaway Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM) during the strike. He is a cunning and ambitious figure who sees the strike as an opportunity to make money and gain influence. He hires mercenaries, ex-soldiers, and thugs to protect the scabs and attack the strikers.

  • Martin Daly: He is a miner from Yorkshire who joins the strike and becomes a flying picket. He is based on a composite of several real-life miners who participated in the strike. He is a loyal and brave figure who suffers from the hardships and dangers of the strike. He faces poverty, hunger, cold, violence, and betrayal. He also witnesses the solidarity and camaraderie of the miners and their communities.

  • David Fraser: He is a journalist from London who covers the strike for a national newspaper. He is based on a fictional character who represents the role of the media during the strike. He is a curious and skeptical figure who tries to find out the truth behind the strike. He interviews different people involved in the strike and uncovers some of the secrets and scandals that surround it.

  • Stephen Sweet: He is a young man from Manchester who works for CBLG as a driver and courier. He is based on a fictional character who represents the role of the outsiders during the strike. He is a naive and impressionable figure who gets involved in the strike without knowing much about it. He becomes a pawn in the hands of Fontaine and Bates, who use him for their own purposes.


The novel follows the course of the strike from its beginning in March 1984 to its end in March 1985. It covers some of the major events that marked the strike, such as:

  • The Battle of Orgreave: This was a violent confrontation between thousands of police officers and miners at a coking plant in South Yorkshire on 18 June 1984. The police charged at the miners with batons and horses, injuring many of them. The incident was filmed by TV cameras and became a symbol of the brutality of the strike.

the mines. The agreement included some concessions for NACODS, such as a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies and a review of the pit closure program.

  • The murder of David Wilkie: This was a tragic incident that occurred on 30 November 1984, when two striking miners, Dean Hancock and Russell Shankland, threw a concrete block from a bridge onto a taxi that was carrying a non-striking miner, David Wilkie, to work in South Wales. The block hit the taxi and killed Wilkie instantly. The driver of the taxi, David Williams, was also injured. Hancock and Shankland were arrested and charged with murder. They were later convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. The incident shocked and saddened both sides of the strike and raised questions about the morality and legality of the picketing tactics.

  • The end of the strike: This was the final outcome of the strike, which came after a year of hardship and struggle for the miners and their families. The strike ended on 3 March 1985, when the NUM held a special conference to decide whether to continue or call off the strike. The conference voted by a majority of 98 to 91 to end the strike without a settlement. The miners returned to work on 5 March 1985, but many of them faced an uncertain future, as some of the pits had been closed or damaged during the strike. The strike also left a legacy of bitterness and division among the miners, their unions, their communities, and the country as a whole.


The novel depicts the various conflicts that arose during the strike, both within and between the different groups involved in the strike. Some of these conflicts were:

  • The conflict between the miners and the government: This was the main conflict that drove the strike. It was a clash between two opposing ideologies and visions for the future of Britain. The miners and their unions wanted to preserve their jobs, their communities, and their way of life. They also wanted to defend their rights, their dignity, and their democracy. The government wanted to reduce the power and influence of the unions, to modernize and privatize the coal industry, and to impose its economic and social policies on the country. The government also wanted to break the strike by any means necessary, including using legal, financial, and police measures.

the strike. They believed that they had the right to work and that the strike was futile and harmful. The strikers and the scabs often confronted each other on the picket lines, sometimes resulting in violence and injuries. The scabs were also ostracized and vilified by the strikers and their communities, who considered them as traitors and enemies.

  • The conflict between the NUM and the UDM: This was another significant conflict that influenced the strike. It was a clash between two rival unions that represented different factions of the miners. The NUM was the main union that led the strike and that had the majority of the miners as its members. The UDM was a breakaway union that opposed the strike and that had a minority of the miners as its members. The UDM was mainly based in Nottinghamshire, where most of the scabs came from. The UDM was supported and funded by Fontaine and his associates, who wanted to weaken and split the NUM. The NUM and the UDM competed for the loyalty and support of the miners, and often accused each other of being corrupt and undemocratic.

  • The conflict within the NUM: This was another important conflict that affected the strike. It was a clash between different factions within the NUM that had different opinions on how to conduct and end the strike. One faction was led by Winters, who wanted to continue the strike until the government agreed to their demands. He also refused to hold a national ballot on the strike, arguing that it was unnecessary and risky. Another faction was led by Frank Hayes, the vice-president of the NUM, who wanted to end the strike as soon as possible and negotiate with the government. He also advocated for a national ballot on the strike, claiming that it was democratic and legitimate. Winters and Hayes often disagreed and argued over the strategy and tactics of the strike, and sometimes undermined each other's authority.

The Themes: A Critical Analysis of The Book

GB84 is a novel that explores various themes that are relevant to the strike and to British society in general. Some of these themes are:


the miners and the unions. It also shows how the government used various methods and resources to achieve its goal, such as changing the laws, cutting the funds, deploying the police, and manipulating the media. The novel also shows how the government faced some opposition and criticism from other political parties, such as Labour and the Liberals, as well as from some of its own members, such as Michael Heseltine and Ian Gilmour. The novel also shows how the strike had an impact on the political landscape and the future of Britain, as it marked a turning point in the decline of the unions and the rise of Thatcherism.


The novel explores the class divisions and the struggles of the workers during the strike. It shows how the miners and their unions represented a working-class culture and identity that was based on solidarity, dignity, and resistance. It also shows how this culture and identity was threatened and challenged by the government and its allies, who represented a ruling-class ideology and interest that was based on individualism, profit, and control. The novel also shows how the strike exposed and exacerbated the class inequalities and injustices that existed in Britain, such as poverty, unemployment, homelessness, and violence. The novel also shows how the strike created and revealed some class differences and conflicts within the mining communities, such as between the strikers and the scabs, between the regions and the areas, and between the men and the women.


the strike involved a lot of symbolic violence, both from the government and its policies, and from the culture and the history. It also shows how this violence affected the identity and the memory of the miners and their communities.


The novel challenges the official narrative and the media coverage of the strike. It shows how the government and its allies tried to control and distort the information and the representation of the strike, in order to justify their actions and to discredit their opponents. It also shows how the media and the public were influenced and misled by this propaganda and bias, and how they failed to question or verify the sources and the facts. The novel also shows how the strike involved a lot of secrets and scandals that were hidden or revealed by different parties, such as Bates, Fontaine, Fraser, and Sweet. The novel also shows how the strike raised a lot of questions and doubts about the truth and the reality of the strike, such as who was behind it, what was its purpose, and what was its outcome.

The Reception: A Review of The Book's Impact and Legacy

GB84 is a novel that received a lot of attention and acclaim when it was published in 2004. It also had a lasting impact and legacy on the literary scene and the public discourse. Here are some of the aspects of its reception:


The novel was praised by many critics who recognized its quality and significance. It was described as a "masterpiece", a "tour de force", a "classic", and a "landmark". It was also compared to other great works of literature, such as George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, John le Carré's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and James Ellroy's American Tabloid. Some of the critics who gave positive reviews to the novel were:

  • Robert McCrum from The Observer, who wrote: "GB84 is a brilliant evocation of that grim year. It is also a remarkable achievement: an ambitious fusion of fact and fiction that sets out to capture not just one version of events but several."

  • James Wood from The Guardian, who wrote: "GB84 is an astonishing piece of writing: inventive, passionate, gripping - a novel that will last."

the most powerful novels written about British politics in the last 50 years."

  • David Peace himself, who wrote: "GB84 is the best thing I have ever done."

The novel was also criticized by some critics who found it flawed or problematic. Some of the issues that they raised were:

  • The style: Some critics found the style of the novel too difficult or too repetitive. They complained that the novel was too long, too dense, too fragmented, or too obscure.

  • The accuracy: Some critics found the accuracy of the novel too questionable or too biased. They argued that the novel was too fictionalized, too exaggerated, too distorted, or too one-sided.

  • The morality: Some critics found the morality of the novel too dubious or too offensive. They claimed that the novel was too violent, too graphic, too vulgar, or too cynical.


The novel was also well received by many readers who enjoyed and appreciated its story and its message. It was rated highly by many online platforms and communities, such as Goodreads, Amazon, and LibraryThing. It also generated a lot of discussions and debates among the readers, who shared their opinions and experiences about the strike and the book. Some of the comments that the readers made were:

  • "This book is a masterpiece. It is a gripping and powerful account of one of the most important events in British history. It is also a brilliant example of how fiction can illuminate and challenge reality."

  • "This book is a nightmare. It is a dark and disturbing portrayal of one of the most horrible periods in British history. It is also a terrible example of how fiction can manipulate and exploit reality."

  • "This book is a revelation. It is a fascinating and insightful exploration of one of the most complex and controversial issues in British politics. It is also a wonderful example of how fiction can enrich and inspire reality."


The novel was also recognized and honored by many literary awards and organizations. It won or was nominated for several prestigious prizes, such as:

  • The James Tait Black Memorial Prize: This is one of the oldest and most respected literary prizes in Britain. It is awarded annually by the University of Edinburgh for the best work of fiction and biography published in the previous year. GB84 won this prize in 2004.

  • The Orwell Prize: This is one of the most prestigious literary prizes in Britain. It is awarded annually by The Orwell Foundation for the best work of political writing published in the previous year. GB84 was shortlisted for this prize in 2005.

the UK or Ireland. GB84 was longlisted for this prize in 2004.

The Download: How to Get The Book in EPUB Format

If you are interested in reading GB84, you might want to download it in EPUB format. EPUB is a popular and widely supported format for digital books that allows you to read them on various devices and platforms, such as e-readers, tablets, smartphones, and computers. Here are some of the benefits and advantages of downloading the book in EPUB format:


Flexibility: You can read the book on any device that supports EPUB, without having to worry about compatibility or conversion is


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