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The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales
The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales
by John Davies
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.00

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales, 19 Mar 2010
When I first heard that there was a project to produce an encyclopaedia devoted entirely to Wales, I was a little concerned that the book might turn out to be driven by a patriotic zeal to celebrate the country obsessively and uncritically. My concerns were totally unjustified. This book is an excellent survey of Wales, its geography, history and character, cautious and dispassionate in attitude. It is balanced and impartial in tone throughout.

The book consists of articles typically from a hundred to several hundred words in length, over an enormous 1059 pages. It includes the expected, such as articles on coal and coalmining, rugby union, the eisteddfod, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd and Aneurin Bevan. Equally, it includes the unexpected, such as the articles about greyhound racing, woodcarving, the French language in Wales, windmills, fish and fishing, electronics, Benedictine monks, and Wales's associations with Australia. It includes the neglected, such as chemistry, Jews, the puddling process (for making wrought iron), food riots, the ceffyl pren (a wooden frame for humiliating offenders), John Callice (a 16th century pirate in the Severn Estuary), the particle physicist Eifionydd Jones, and the Aberystwyth naive artist. The selection of subjects is broad, inclusive and all encompassing.

The quality of an encyclopaedia can be judged by whether the articles approach being definitive. A majority of the articles in this book comfortably achieve that and it is clear that each has been written with great care and precision. The book is academically rigorous, while being accessible to all. Anyone of any intelligence living in Wales should consider buying this book to understand the country better.

Excellent, fascinating, magnificent for browsing through.


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