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The near destruction of the coal industry and the NUM offers a timely vantage point from which to appraise their history. This book presents a collection of specially commissioned essays by leading authorities on miners' history, which challenge the stereotypical imagery of miners' solidarity and loyalty to the Labour Party. This book examines the politics of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain, the unique influences of syndicalism and communism within some of its constituent areas, and the uneven pace of the Labour Party's 'forward march' within the coalfields. Such national developments are then studied within their diverse regional contexts through a series of case studies which permits comparison between the major British coalfields. Finally, the book considers the attempts to overcome these regional diversities with the formation of the National Union of Mineworkers and the nationalisation of the mining industry.