Emil Zola’s classic novel of brutal class war in 19th century France. A rare breed of a book, both brilliant literature combining vivid description and character study and a page turner with a savage bite. A tragedy rather then a revolutionary polemic-there are no heroes here, except the defiance and resilience of the miners, engaged in a doomed strike brought on by intolerably working conditions and starvation wages. There is a villain though, not the individual bourgeois or the Russian nihilist Souvarine or even the thuggish scab Chaval, but the capitalist system itself-a vile monster that not only feeds on the blood and sweat of the workers, but eats the corpses of its own failed capitalists to accumulate more and more profit.
See Wiki entry here
Christopher Eccleston reads from Germinal below: