they start assuming historical importance. That the problem is a universal one is revealed by the sources used in many of the other contributions- local newspaper reports and the oral or written testimony of participants delivered nearly half-a-century later figure prominently in the footnotes. Six chapters-one whole section of the book-is of personal reminscences. This is one reason why the volume does not fully fill the gap in local knowledge. Oral history is a valuable source, properly used. Indeed, it is often our only source. But it lacks the authority of primary evidence left on paper by people in the ordinary, every-day course of their lives or work. Studying the strike from the government side, there is an abundance of such evidence. From the union side, especially at the grass-roots level, there is all too little. Some of the contributors have been luckier than others. Thus, while Peter Wyncoll's chapter on the East Midlands is based largely on letters written recently by participants, Hywel Francis, dealing with south Wales in the best documented chapter in the book, uses a fascinating correspon- dence between police chiefs in Cardiff and Brighton, which sent policemen to the valleys. It was common for police, say, in Leeds to be drafted to Liverpool during a strike, but 'I little thought', the Cardiff chief constable wrote, 'that men trained in such a fashionable resort as Brighton would have adapted themselves with such alacrity to the rough fighting of the Rhondda'. Perhaps dealing with Brighton's race-course gangs had trained them to fight dirty. But then in 1926, before radio and television, such lack of knowledge between regions, indeed between valleys, was universal. Moreover, this ignorance was to play a crucial part in the eventual outcome of the Strike, to say nothing of the widespread indifference to the sufferings of the miners and the unemployed which characterized the interwar years. Hywel Francis is particularly perceptive about this, and concentrates on the miner's seven-month lockout rather than the General Strike. 'It was the events of the lockout,' he concludes, 'which irrevocably changed the social and political face of the South Wales coalfield and not those of the Nine Days which preceded it.' This was true of miners everywhere-for them, the General Strike has always been peripheral to the real struggle with the mine-owners. In painting this picture, Mr. Francis draws on much local colour, such as the valley jazz bands, and the antics of that immortal cartoon character, Dai Lossin. But far too often the dead hand of Marxist orthodoxy intrudes. This is especially true of the long, introductory chapters by John Foster and James Klugmann, which establish the 'line' of the book. Dr. Foster's analysis of the state of the British economy in the 1920s, while justly critical of the gold lobby, ignores their argument that return to gold would stimulate movement away from old, declining export industries to new ways of earning our living. Too often, by Dr. Foster and others, we are told 'Once these lessons have been learnt, this basic experience will have to be drawn on again', or regaled with uncritical quotations by Mr. Klugmann, such as that by A. J. Cook that 'The General Strike did not fail'. That it did fail is made abundantly clear by Mr. Wyncoll and other contributors. But there is a pervasive failure to explain just why the Strike was called off. While Dr. Foster comments neatly that 'The General Council. went into battle backwards, looking for a way out', Edmund and