If you are Welsh, have Welsh ancestors or went on holiday to Rhyl as a child, this book will induce a sense of bitter-sweet homesickness for a country with a fierce pride in being 'not English', despite being regarded as an English region by most of the rest of the world.
The author brings out the pride, sadness and essential 'otherness' of the Welsh people and culture. The sadness comes from many sources - the dark melancholy of a Celtic race, the centuries of losing on the battlefield to a larger foe, the grey, damp, rocky landscape seeping into it's people's souls and joints. But the pride comes from still having a language that is central to their culture and from feeling part of a distinct country, for surviving, despite all the forces of history.
Jan Morris details - it is an incredibly detailed book - many, many stories, anecdotes and histories to describe Wales and the forces that have shaped its long history. The breadth of her knowledge I found astonishing and is written in a poetic style that conveys the yearning and love she feels for the land and its people.
But this lyrical style, despite being the books great strength, is also its weakness. The poetry that struck the emotional resonances also leads, at times, to long-windedness where the emotion cannot be sustained and boredom sets in. At these times I wished 460 pages were 350 and I feel it would be a better book for tighter editing.
Yet despite this, 'Wales' is worth the journey (in both senses) and has awakened emotions about my family's land that I didn't realise I had. That, for me, is some praise.