The strike of 1984/5 cut deep into the traditional mining communities yet in the midst of this wholesale destruction something unexpected happened.
From the dark corners of obscurity came the voices of the wives, mothers and daughters of miners - previously unheard, inexperienced, unrehearsed.
Out of desperation they found the strength and courage to not only stand and fight alongside their men but to become political activists in their own right.
Overnight they mastered the media, learnt which journalists to trust and began to appear in the newspapers, and on radio and TV.
But when the strike ended in defeat the media lost interest.
The women were dumped, allowed to slip back into the shadows.
For some the strike brought about a change; they had seen an existence beyond the slagheaps and embraced it.
For others the end of the strike meant coming back to earth with a bump.
Two decades later Triona Holden, who was one of the BBC correspondents reporting on the strike, takes the reader into the lives of these remarkable women and reveals that what is good and inextinguishable about the mining communities lives on in these women's articulate, funny and frank stories.