21 October 2021, The Tablet

Jeremy Paxman's captivating history of coal mining

Jeremy Paxman's captivating history of coal mining

Miners at Granville Colliery, Telford Shropshire in the 1970s
Photo: Alamy, David Bagnall


Black Gold: The History of How Coal Made Britain
Tablet bookshop price £22.50 • tel 020 7799 4064

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. The seismic influence of coal forces Paxman to spread his ink across politics, economics, art, industry and culture: the grubby rock gets everywhere. But, despite its broad scope, the prose doesn’t labour, but romps along, darting through the early history of British mining, bringing to life the political tussles and human struggles which continue to haunt Britain today.

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