Joe Kenyon was born into a miner’s family in Carlton village, near Barnsley in Yorkshire, in 1915. After his father contracted tuberculosis and was confined in sanitoria, life was very hard for the Kenyons. The children were often unable to go to school and Joe was largely self-educated. Down the pit by the age of fourteen, he continued to read voraciously. Although he tried other jobs from time to time, he always returned to the Barnsley coal pits. When the dust finally caught up with Joe Kenyon in 1960, compelling him to leave colliery work, he became an organiser for the National Council of Labour Colleges, A Trades Union official and a welfare rights specialist in a Home Office Community Development Project. Spoken in Joe Kenyon’s gentle Barnesley accent, these stories of his life come out of a Yorkshire working-class oral tradition. Told to his wife, Irene, when she lay dying of cancer and typed up later, they are always vivid, poignant, enraging, uproarious – posing ever-relevant moral and political questions. His book is an invaluable source for all concerned with social, political history, and a genuine work of literature that will fascinate readers of all ages.
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