Aberfan - Government and Disaster

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‘The full truth about Aberfan’
The Guardian

‘The research is outstanding…the investigation is substantial, balanced and authoritative…this is certainly the definitive book on the subject…Meticulous.’
John R. Davis, Journal of Contemporary British History

‘Excellent...thorough and sympathetic.
Headway 2000 (Aberfan’s Community Newspaper)

‘Definitive...authoritative...anyone who wants to understand the process of government and its obsession with secrecy should read this book.’
Ron Davies, Secretary of State for Wales 1997-1998 

‘Intelligent and moving’

1. The Last Day before Half-term
2. On Moles and the Habits of Birds: The Unpolitics of Aberfan
3. Uneasy Relationships: The Aberfan Disaster, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council and Local Politics
4. The Management of Trauma
5. Regulating and Raiding Gifts of Generosity: The Aberfan Disaster Fund
6. Aberfan Then and Now

On 21 October 1966, 116 children and 28 adults died when a mountainside coal tip collapsed, engulfing homes and part of a school in the village of Aberfan below. It is a moment that will be forever etched in the memories of many people in Wales and beyond.

Aberfan - Government & Disaster is widely recognised as the definitive study of the disaster. Following meticulous research of public records - kept confidential by the UK Government’s 30-year rule - the authors, in this revised second edition, explain how and why the disaster happened and why nobody was held responsible.

Iain McLean and Martin Johnes reveal how the National Coal Board, civil servants, and government ministers, who should have protected the public interest, and specifically the interests of the people of Aberfan, failed to do so. The authors also consider what has been learned or  ignored from Aberfan such as the understanding of psychological trauma and the law concerning ‘corporate manslaughter’.

Aberfan - Government & Disaster is the revised and updated second edition of Iain McLean and Martin Johnes’ acclaimed study published in 2000, which now solely focuses on Aberfan. 

Iain McLean is Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of Oxford and Official Fellow in Politics at Nuffield College, Oxford.
Martin Johnes is Professor of History at Swansea University.