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GB84

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  502 ratings  ·  44 reviews
The 1984 miners' strike brought to vivid, painful and dramatic life by David Peace. Here he describes the entire civil war, with corruption from government to boardroom, and all the tumultuous violence, passion and dirty tricks.
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Published by Faber & Faber (first published 2004)
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1984 by George Orwell1066 and All That by W.C. Sellar2001 by Arthur C. Clarke1776 by David McCullough1215 by Danny Danziger
When Was That ? Specific Dates in Titles
122nd out of 207 books — 59 voters
The Man in Seat 11B by Andrew James PritchardThe Initiation of Pb500 by Kyle StoneGB84 by David PeaceThx 1138 by Ben BovaH2O by Howard Schatz
H2O
1st out of 26 books — 6 voters


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Adam Stone
GB84 is a novel about the Miners Strike that took place in Great Britain between March 1984 and March 1985. It is not a straightforward retelling of the events that took place over that year but rather a fictionalised account of the time and certain events that happened during the strike.

The book has a large cast of characters from striking miners, to members of the national union of miners, to policemen and members of the special services, government ministers.

The narrative is sprawling, taki...more
Derek Baldwin
Wow, this is tough going at times, but on balance it's worth it. The stacatto prose really can be offputting: it's so blunt and seemingly affectless. But the cumulative effect is really very powerful.



What is especially rewarding with this novel is the juxtaposition of the "behind the scenes" stuff - the NUM, the cops, Special Branch, the lackeys to Margaret Thatcher, etc - with the really quite heart-breaking strikers diaries of Martin and Peter which are interleaved throughout the main text. Th...more
Tfitoby
Ah, it was OK. Nothing amazing here. The comaprisons to James Ellroy are a massive compliment as, if anything, this is Ellroy extra-lite.

I enjoyed the one Red Riding book that i've found so far but this felt a little lightweight and I couldn't help but get enraged at the amount of story that seemed to be missed as Peace jumps from one storyline to another, telling none of them fully and leaving you to assume events from later dialogue. And that's really where I was disappointed, the novel seemed...more
Adam
David Peace makes a powerful, angry, ominous, and forbidding monument of a novel of the ’84 UK Miner’s strike (which was an equivalent labor defeat to the ’85 Pan Am strike, but more violent and filled with drama.). If you aren’t in the right frame of mind, this frantic and wonderful read might seem like apocalyptic mumblings from a scary bum or a newscast from hell rather than a proper novel. Peace takes from John Dos Passo, Iain Sinclair, and James Ellroy and intertwines multiples narratives a...more
Euzie
A book in three stories

Story 1 - the tale of the miners - if i could give this 10 out of 5 i would, amazing, powerful and relevant today

Story 2 - A crime thriller focusing on a botched special branch job and its cover up, decent if occasionally uninspiring though it sort of bids the book together well though it does get a bit wrapped up in itself towards the end

Story 3 - The tale of terry, Chief Executive Officer of the NUM - Bloody awful, and the denouement actually made me throw the book acros...more
Otto Lambauer
Gekauft als Krimi, war letzten Monat Nummer 1 der Zeit Krimibestenliste. Es gibt Blut und Mord und Grauslichkeiten, aber es gibt eigentlich keine Krimihandlung, alles spielt sich rund um den einjährigen Bergarbeiterstreik 1984/85 in GB ab. Um den Roman wirklich zu verstehen, muss man wohl viel über den Streik und die damalige Zeit und die handelnden Personen wissen. Das Tat ich nicht wirklich und hatte auch keine allzu große Lust, mich da einzulesen, darum hab ich wohl nur das Viertel Lesevergnü...more
Joe
Overly complicated. A number of very good stories all overlapping. But I found the jumping from one narrative to another slight confusing and more importantly broke the flow. I ended up reading the miners story first, all the way through and this was depressing, remembering these times and what they were forced to endure.

I'd still recommend you read this book though.
Jonathan
Noir as black as the Yorkshire coals that fuel it! David Peace dips his brush in the facts to paint a vivid portrait of a nation divided by class, greed and politics. I experienced Thatcher's Britain as the teenage son and grandson of miners, It's a time that is easy to remember, but not to understand. Peace helps...
Andrew
I shall give this book four stars despite having some reservations in regard the closing chapters and the lack of real closure to the narrative in my opinion.
It deserves four stars however as the backdrop of the miners strike feeds into a gritty thrilling tale and the use of actual events(with fictional detail interspersed)adds a grim nostalgia that kept me gripped.
I enjoyed this book I just felt it sagged at the end..all the clever work wasn't(in my opinion) drawn together for a interesting rev...more
John
This is an excellent book, not always an easy read, but well worth the effort. It describes the long running strike of British coal miners against the government of Mrs Thatcher during the period 1984 -85. It is not a history; it mainly deals with the effects of the strike through the eyes of mineworkers and union leaders.
The book takes real events over the period from March 1984 to March 1985 and through the use of fictional characters describes the impacts of the strike on the miners, their fa...more
Colin
Breathtakingly great, but requires some concentration. The story is an account of the miner's strike (largely based on true facts) and some of the shadowy characters operating behind the scenes on both sides (fictional - we hope!). The whole thing is infused with paranoia and with a creeping sense of portentousness, seeing the strike both as part of a wider history, (calls back to older strikes and to a more mythical past), and as the founding of a new era in the last few of the island - best su...more
Harrystuart
Libro difficile da recensire. Argomento interessante e scottante: la contrapposizione fra la lady di ferro (Margaret Thatcher) e i diritti calpestati di migliaia di minatori. La democrazia che usa tutti i mezzi per soffocare uno sciopero.
Però troppo frammentato. Non ci si capisce nulla. Chi è chi, chi fa cosa, chi odia chi. Forse una narrazione diversa avrebbe dato più mordente ad una storia che scritta in questo modo fa fare al lettore uno sforzo titanico per capire il filo del racconto. Pecc...more
Alastair Kemp
The thing about reading 'faction' is that you already know how it's going to end. That I still felt caught up in the book, willing some chracters on, wishing failure on others, even though ultimately you know it's the other way around, is testimony to the narrative power of this book. I was a young teenager when all this happened and living in the South East so the events weren't directly of concern to me at the time, but there are enough ghosts of the past to evoke the time whilst reading even...more
Neil Powell
Like Peace's masterpiece "The Red Riding Quartet", this novel is dark, violent and multi-layered. The prose is rich in descriptive text, at times almost poetic in style, which allows the reader to really immerse themselves within the tale. Peace's gift is to take an event that we all know, and force the reader to become enthralled. You find yourself hoping that the ending will be different, and when it isn't you find yourself disappointed.

The main thread of the story follows 4 major (fictional)...more
Nick
Not for the faint-hearted, or the short-sighted. Gritty dialogue, rough characters, the occasional stream of consciousness, vicious backstabbing and corruption at the highest levels combine to produce a larger-than-lfe account of UK's miners' strike in 1984 (geddit?!). With everything at stake (workers rights, education, the deepest values held by society, state brutality and the struggle between the establishment and the left wing - see what I mean by everything) the miners' strike was one of t...more
Nickie
Jul 06, 2008 Nickie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Nickie by: Jezzah
Great Britain 1984, and parts of the country are effectively under martial law, as Thatcher's government tries to break the unions in what's been described as the third English civil war.

Peace covers the strike from all (or most) angles - the miners, the police, the government, the union, the secret services. Nobody but the miners come out of this looking good, and it's clear that it's the miners, as the troops, that take the beatings. Most of all, Peace highlights how the government was prepare...more
Alcuin
Okay, I liked this book but these are times that resonate for me (the miners' strike in 1984) and it's irritating that all of the characters seem to have worse "tunnel vision" than we undoubtedly had at the time. That said, I did enjoy Peace's portrayal of "the President" and "the Chairman" fighting a war of words over obscure points that had nothing to do with the dispute that was being fought in the real world.

Strangely, one character I did find myself identifying with, even though had I met h...more
Alex
One of the grottiest and grittiest books I've read in a while, and covering a slice of history I knew very little about. A very involving story with characters from both sides of the picket line. My favourite aspect of this book was the incredible attention to detail in its language and depiction of all classes in Britain, after the wonders and self-love of the Olympics, this brings you straight back to earth by detailing the groggy underbelly of British culture.

I've struggles with Peace in the...more
Ira Ebner
David Peace has got his own style. He knows how to create suspense as well as the insight of Thatcher's days in short sentences. Also the reports of the two Miners Martin and Peter, which are exactly one page long, make you feel close to the events. The characters in the novel are sparkling and full of contradictions and that is why they are so interesting. You never know, who is the traitor? I think GB 84 is very close to the truth, though it is fiction. The only reason why I rate this book wit...more
Taylor Bright
This is characteristically dark, but with good reason. A tale of when a society cannibalizes itself and the dark methods used to purge members of that society. As with David Peace's work, it's immaculately researched and the truths are as astonishing as the fiction. It's also a reminder why so many still hate Margaret Thatcher and Thatcherism. I would recommend brushing up on the miner's strike of 1984 because there's a lot of shorthand that American readers won't be familiar with. And, if you'r...more
Xian
note to self: could not get through it, abandoned after 150pages.

This isn't prose, it's an attempt at postmodern theatre or poetry maybe. Perhaps Peace is trying to convey the frantic-ness of the miner's strike 1984-1985 in Great Britain with his structure, but I was not in the mood for it. The staccato writing and foreign (to a non Brit or younger peraon) terminology serves to confuse more than anything. I am genuinely angry for having wasted my time reading.

Although in another time, if I have...more
Claire
Had to give up on this one, several chapters in and I still didn't really know what was going on. Shame because I was looking forward to this but I think I thought it would be a different take.
Ian Young
The story of the Miners' Strike told from multiple perspectives - an ordinary miner, a senior union official, and an unnamed senior Tory advisor - with a number of other characters, including an appropriately murky storyline involving the security services. Not everyone finds Peace easy to read, and there are some typical experimental twists here, but GB84 is filled with passion and should be compulsory reading for anyone who didn't have the pleasure of living through the Thatcher era. Lest we f...more
Katy Derbyshire
Astounding. The best book I've read in a long time. Does everything wrong and it all turns out right.
Kate
Feels very historically accurate, but also heightened in its portrayal of corruption, manipulation, and people's weaknesses. My only problem (aside from the length) was that the women in this book barely exist. They're just wives, girlfriends and mistresses and we never see things from their perspective. (We couldn't have had one scene from Diane's POV?) Aside from Thatcher of course, a particularly female malevolent presence in the background. I don't know, maybe there was a reason for that.
Tiffany Stoneman
Gave up 1/3 in... don't usually do that with books, but found it too political for my liking. Will leave on the shelf for perhaps another time.
Frédéric
But please note that I'm not saying this is a bad book!
It's just that here David Peace stretches his style to limits I just can't come to grips with. I was 12 during the miner's strike and I'm French so I don't have enough background to put the book in any perspective I can relate to one way or another. And the kind of cut/paste/Straight-to-your-face narration certainly doesn't help.
Guess that as much as I liked the Red Riding Quartet, GB84 just wasn't made for me...
Clare Turner
Sep 13, 2010 Clare Turner is currently reading it
my dad worked at the coal board during this time in H.R. and was threatened with the sack for his activities in the Coal Not Dole campaign. As leader of camden council we were bagging up tins of food to send off to the miners camping out at Camden Town Hall on their way to demos and meetings in London. I rember going to Hobart House as a kid - all smoke and wooden panels just like in the book. I have told him to read it but don't think her wants to relive it!
Nigeyb
GB84 is dramatisation of the miners' strike in which real events (Orgreave, the Brighton bomb) and real people (Arthur Scargill, Margaret Thatcher, Ian MacGregor) mingle imperceptibly with Dave's creations. "This novel", he notes in the acknowledgements, "is a fiction, based on fact" and Dave does not take liberties with the strike's trajectory. A gripping read and, as with all his books, it brilliantly evokes the era.
Rebecca
A really gritty book, that gives a real sense of the time and emotions of the miners strike. The main charcters range from warm and friendly to dark and menacing, and the movement bewteen the differnt naratives keeps the tale fresh and exciting from start to finish. The themes of loyalty and mistrust sit well with the topic, and add an addiotnal layer to the historical novel.
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161893
David Peace was born in 1967 and grew up in Ossett, near Wakefield. He left Manchester Polytechnic in 1991, and went to Istanbul to teach English. In 1994 he took up a teaching post in Tokyo and now lives there with his family.

His formative years were shadowed by the activities of the Yorkshire Ripper, and this had a profound influence on him which led to a strong interest in crime. His quartet of...more
More about David Peace...
The Damned Utd Nineteen Seventy Four (Red Riding, #1) Nineteen Seventy Seven (Red Riding, #2) Nineteen Eighty (Red Riding, #3) Tokyo Year Zero (Tokyo Trilogy, #1)

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