This volume studies the decline of a staple industry at a time of worldwide upheaval caused by war and economic slump. In 1913 British coalmining was at the height of its achievement and prosperity; by 1946 it was an ominous symbol of twentieth-century Britain's inability to adapt totechnological and economic change and its social consequences. Written in the light of industrial and government records, this study gives full weight to the political aspects of economic decision-making and economic change. It demonstrates the extent to which the problems of the coal industry were, and still are, deeply rooted in its social, political, andeconomic history. It is also a classic case study of inflexibility in British industry.