Free Read Friday - The Winter of Discontent

Posted on October 05, 2016 by Heather Gallagher

Free Read Friday is back with a wonderful book from our Studies in Labour History series. Download the ebook free this Friday only!


Winter of Discontent

The Winter of Discontent

Myth, Memory and History

by Tara Martin López


In the midst of the freezing winter of 1978–79, more than 2,000 strikes, infamously coined the “Winter of Discontent,” erupted across Britain as workers rejected the then Labour Government’s attempts to curtail wage increases with an incomes policy. Labour’s subsequent electoral defeat at the hands of the Conservative Party under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher ushered in an era of unprecedented political, economic, and social change for Britain. A potent social myth also quickly developed around the Winter of Discontent, one where “bloody-minded” and “greedy” workers brought down a sympathetic government and supposedly invited the ravages of Thatcherism upon the British labour movement. 'The Winter of Discontent' provides a re-examination of this crucial series of events in British history by charting the construction of the myth of the Winter of Discontent. Highlighting key strikes and bringing forward the previously-ignored experiences of female, black, and Asian rank-and-file workers alongside local trade union leaders, the author places their experiences within a broader constellation of trade union, Labour Party, and Conservative Party changes in the 1970s, showing how striking workers’ motivations become much more textured and complex than the “bloody-minded” or “greedy” labels imply. The author further illustrates that participants’ memories represent a powerful force of “counter-memory,” which for some participants, frame the Winter of Discontent as a positive and transformative series of events, especially for the growing number of female activists. Overall, this fascinating book illuminates the nuanced contours of myth, memory, and history of the Winter of Discontent.
The most comprehensive, balanced and persuasive analysis of the Winter of Discontent so far available.
Pat Thane King's College London

The book makes possible a significantly more nuanced understanding, both of the ‘lived experience’ of those who participated in industrial action and of the dire economic conditions from which the strikes emerged. The result is a valuable contribution to the scholarly literature on the 1970s.
Robert Saunders Twentieth Century British History

Utilising a number of previously unseen sources, especially some stimulating and thought-provoking interviews with a number of those who participated on various sides of the 1978/9 industrial disputes, the study provides an important addition to the ever-growing historiography of late-twentieth-century British political history.
Andrew Edwards Labour History Review

An important book of considerable scholarship and historical technique, offering valuable alternative perspectives and significant insights into the industrial unrest of the British ‘winter of discontent’.
John Shepherd University of Huddersfield

Follow the instructions below to begin the download of your Free Read Friday title or check out Tara's author insights for more information behind the book. 


How to download The Winter of Discontent by Tara Martin López:

  1. Go to our website: 
  2. Select ‘ADD TO CART’
  3. Follow to your cart and click ‘CHECKOUT’
  4. Fill out your customer details
  5. Click to enter your discount code FreeReadFriday and click ‘APPLY’
  6. Press continue to complete your order, your account will not be charged.
  7. If you do not already have Adobe Digital Editions, you’ll need to download this (also for free!) here:
  8. Select your chosen download for either Macintosh or Windows
  9. Save, Open, Run and follow the prompts through to installation. It is not necessary to create home shortcuts for this programme but ensure that you tick ‘Associate .acsm and .epub file types’
  10. Closing the installer once setup is complete will open the programme
  11. From here, simply go to File > Add to Library > then select your download of The Winter of Discontent to begin reading
  12. Enjoy! 


Check our twitter for updates on the next #FreeReadFriday as well as LUP news and new books published. 


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Previous #FreeReadFriday titles have included:

-The Reinvention of Mexico by Gavin O'Toole

-The ‘Natural Leaders’ and their World by Jonathan Jeffrey Wright

-Sacred Modernity by Tariq Jazeel

-London Underground by David Ashford

-Zachary Macaulay 1768-1838 by Iain Whyte

-Language and Literary Form in French Caribbean Writing by Celia Britton

-Labour and the Caucus by James Owen

-Assia Djebar: Out of Algeria by Jane Hiddleston

-The Politics of Memoir and the Northern Ireland Ireland Conflict by Stephen Hopkins

-The Time Machines: The Story of the Science-Fiction Pulp Magazines from the Beginning to 1950 by Mike Ashley

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