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Land of My Fathers: 2000 Years of Welsh History [Paperback]

Gwynfor Evans
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: 12.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 Jan 1998
This uniquely comprehensive illustrated history of Wales was first published in Welsh and was an immediate best-seller. Lucidly written and with a masterful organisation of material, it has proved a classic.

Now in a new century, mere devolution is slowly but surely moving towards full Welsh statehood. Brilliantly and passionately, this book explains why this is not only desirable-but the inevitable product of Welsh history.


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Land of My Fathers: 2000 Years of Welsh History + Welsh Kings: Warriors, Warlords & Princes: Warriors, Warlords and Princes
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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Y Lolfa; New Ed edition (3 Jan 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0862432650
  • ISBN-13: 978-0862432652
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 12 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"...takes hold of their history in a human compass and with real power... --Gwyn Alf Williams

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

However tenuous traditions may appear to be, they often reveal more tenacity than political institutions which seem to be strong enough to last for ever. When the Roman Empire was at the height of its power the Celts of Gaul were taking delight in the arts of public speaking and poetry. Nora Chadwick tells us:
'Gaulish oratory was the most highly prized in the empire...Love of poetry is perhaps the characteristic of the ancient Gauls which impressed itself most deeply on the Romans; and of course native Gaulish poetry was purely oral.'

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History of wales 19 Oct 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Being a proud Welshman and realising that I knew very little about the history of Wales I looked for a book on that theme. I discovered this one on Amazon. Some books are just written in a way that you cannot put them down and this book is certainly in that category. It seems that I knew even less than I thought. Now I understand the way that we think as a nation and we are truly as our national anthem says a "land of poets and singers"
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Land of My Fathers review 9 July 2009
Format:Paperback
This is an excellent book, well written and covering so much of the Welsh peoples history from 'day 1'. Much of this writers history follows the history of the Welsh language, and obviously 'loses his way' a little in the more modern history as this began to fade from Welsh culture and life in the major cities and Towns.
A more recent recovery of the language in popularity may well provide a fresh writer with better threads to link to the present Wales and Welsh life and culture.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but Tortuous 22 July 2013
By M. J. Saxton VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very interesting reading; a history of Wales from the Welsh perspective. Gwynfor Evans tried to get it all into one volume and just about manages it. This is the work of a truly dedicated scholar.

It is also the work of someone with deeply-held nationalist beliefs and that does taint some areas of the book in that you can feel the weight of justification of actions in terms of race which isn't always a comfortable fit.

The endless reiterating of family ties can get confusing, especially when there are no family tree illustrations to help out. Also, it sometimes feels as if the reader is expected to know who all these people are which makes the writing feel somewhat exclusive.

There are also some areas where personal religious views are brought to bear on the narrative of history where they do not belong.

Though there are dates in the margin, they do not always follow a chronological order; one chapter may be followed by another which refers back to previous dates. This gets very confusing.

The content in general is fascinating and this is an important book as a record of the history of a very significant country in British terms as well as its own. It provokes a strong argument for highlighting the study of the history of the other countries that currently constitute Britain on their own terms, instead of being lumped as "part of the nation".

I would suggest it needs quite radical re-editing and expanding in order to clarify the historical chronology and personalities. There are also one or two annoying inconsistencies in spelling.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A DIATRIBE 26 May 2014
Format:Paperback
Gwynfor Evans was a lawyer who became the first Plaid Cymru M.P. at Westminster and represented Carmarthen between 1966 and 1970. His one-volume history of Wales Land of My Fathers appeared in 1974. For him the Tudors were a disastrous aberration, from the straight and narrow path taken by the Swiss towards independence. It was a mistake, of historic proportions, to think that Welsh people would be best represented by alliance with the English royal family, even if this ultimately resulted in a Welshman succeeding to the English throne. Instead it merely led to a period of renewed and intensified colonialism. (Lloyd George made the same mistake as the Tudors, but on a grander scale, power at Westminster being no substitute for power in Wales, so far as the Welsh were concerned).

For Evans the central events of the late Middle Ages is Owain Glyndwr’s revolt, which happened in the interlude between the first and second ‘halves’ of the Hundred Years’ War. Evans points out that Welshmen fought on both sides in that war: he mentions their considerable presence at Crecy, but he also mentions Owain ap Thomas ap Rhodri, known in Wales as Owain Lawgoch, ‘the greatest military genius that Wales has produced’, regarded in his own day as the Mab Darogan, Son of Prophecy who would save Wales. This man was given a fleet by Charles V of France, in 1369 and again in 1372. He sailed for Wales, with this ‘free Wales navy’, with the intention of liberating his homeland, but turned back on the French King’s orders, to help the Castilians defeat an English fleet off La Rochelle. He was murdered by the Englishman John Lamb, in Gascony in 1378, before he had a chance to return for another attempt.
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