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Wales (Small Oxford books) [Hardcover]

Jan Morris
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 April 1982 Small Oxford books
In this new edition of the revised version of 1998, Jan Morris celebrates Wales and all things Welsh. A personal study, it reflects the rich bilingual literature and folklore, the buildings and varied landscapes, the national character and humour, historical predicaments and the political condition of this small but extraordinary country.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (15 April 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019214118X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192141187
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 11.2 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,637,390 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Anglo-Welsh by birth, Welsh by loyalty, Jan Morris divides her time between Wales and travel abroad. She is an Honorary D.Litt. of the universities of Wales and Glamorgan, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Honorary FRIBA. Her other books include studies of Venice, Oxford and Spain, half a dozen works about the British Empire; a capricious biography of Admiral Lord Fisher, RN; six volumes of collected travel essays and two autobiographical volumes. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
82 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How to instil homesickness in 460 pages.... 14 Oct 2002
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.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Home sick for Wales and I'm not even Welsh. 11 Jan 2009
Beautifully written, this book evokes a Wales that hardly lives up to Jan Morris's descriptions (wet Bank Holiday in Borth, anyone?). Nevertheless, it provides an understanding of Wales and the Welsh that may otherwise be lacking in many an English (or Scots, or Irish) reader. It's certainly an easier read than I at first anticipated and I read it through quite happily without feeling the need to skip.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 26 Sep 2009
By Gjhayes
A fascinating insight into the welshness of Wales. A mesmerising tour around the country suggesting place after place that one feels one must visit.

Such an easy read one is led gently by the hand through history geography myths and legends.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 1 July 2014
By claude
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3.0 out of 5 stars Wrong book 3 July 2014
By Kindle Customer - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It did not meet my expectations because I did not read the description carefully. I had wanted the history of Wales written by Morris , but this is a collection of brief pieces selected by her. My own fault, but this slight volume was only moderately useful for one who wished an overview of Welsh history and culture.
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