At midnight on 3 May 1926, two million workers downed tools and came out on the only General Strike ever staged in Britain. The country braced itself for a Socialist revolution. Yet in the ensuing nine days, far from working for the overthrow of the state, strikers as well as strike-breakers mobilised to save parliamentary democracy. Although the strike was perhaps the most dramatic peacetime event in twentieth-century Britain, affecting every inhabitant of every town of any size throughout the country, it was remarkable more for its discipline and control than for street battles and picket line violence. There were no deaths, and few injuries, while in one city, Plymouth, police and pickets played football together. Capitulation, when it came on 12 May, was almost as total as it was unexpected. A Very British Strike provides a fast-paced and authoritative account both of the events that led up to the strike and of its immediate aftermath. Anne Perkins draws on a wide variety of hitherto unpublished sources and affords readers a twenty-first-century lens through which to see the brief moment in the 1920s when the British state seemed as vulnerable to an alliance of external and internal threats as it sometimes seems today.
`Anne Perkins has grasped the sources and done this nine-day tragedy justice. This is history with a minimum of eye-catching "contemporary relevance," but plenty of detail from the time' Daily Telegraph