Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Prime Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen with Prime Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars39
4.5 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 3 September 2011
An incredibly moving, witty, humorous and downright inspiring book! This book will sweep you away and take you on a journey with the writer, the brilliant Jasper Rees, throughout the glorious countryside of Wales as it embarks on a mission of personal discovery where so many aspects of Welsh culture are explored and described with wit and charm. The book has a wonderful blend of Welsh history interwoven with current events where we are introduced to a multiplicity of wonderful Welsh characters from sporting heroes to politicians. The book explores so many areas of Welsh culture from poetry to the wonderful and beautiful old Welsh language. This is one man's search for his own national identity which has made me laugh and it has made me cry. It is a masterpiece that has touched my life and has taught me so much. I can without question, recommend this book to anyone.
11 comment|21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 11 March 2014
This is a personal account of how someone tried to find deeply buried Welsh roots. Having travelled the same road, I could empathise with much of it, but you really have to live in Wales and through the medium of Welsh (if a Welsh-language family was your background) to put down reinvigorated roots. Mr Rees's odessy is perhaps a bit quick, forced, and directed from over the border, and I suspect that doors were opened to him as a writer on a project that might be harder to prise open for the ordinary Welsh ex-pat. No one ever offered me the chance to join a premier Welsh male voice choir when I was an English-speaking resident of Surrey, let alone chat with Dafydd Iwan, Bryn Terfel or Jim Parc Nêst!

Mr Rees certainly can't be blamed for his family, but it is perhaps just a bit unfortunate that the person who chose to write this original and revealing book happened to have a very privileged (in Welsh terms) background, with money aplenty and professional parents and grandparents. With a successful dentist living in a small plasty near Carmarthen as his grandfather, he never quite gets to sit by the fireside of some relative in (sday) a small Welsh quarryman's cottage, and even his stint as a Dinas Mawddwy farmhand is really just a holiday job - as he would readily admit, I am sure. But he never patronises, he always realises that he cannot truly become what he is not and he is where he is because of choices made even before he was born.

Towards the end of the book, he descibes a walk the length of Offa's Dyke. This could be the basis of a whole book, and I hope he writes it. He has an understanding of the resonances of both sides of the Dyke, and a fine way with travelogue writing. Please Mr Rees, do the walk again and write it up in much greater detail - it would be a surefire winner, and as far as I know, the only long distance walk book on Offa's Dyke to date (rather than guide books) has been in Welsh.

One the most moving passages is where he tells of a regular extended family get-together, where most of the second and third cousins do not even share his surname and he feels that they do not realise the Welsh identity in themselves that he has regained. At the end of the book, I was left with this message: it behoves us all to think carefully about what we do and where we go before we so thoughtlessly uproot and destroy our unborn descendants' patrimony.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 November 2013
.Tantalising story about one mans quest to find his Welsh roots. Beautifully written with much humour and a real grasp of the Welsh Psyche.
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 6 December 2013
this is so funny and so well written. you need to understand the Welsh humour but a great read brilliant
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 April 2013
Fantastic. A great, humourous read, especially as much of it reflects my life as the child of English and Welsh parents, who traveled regularly to Welsh grandparents. At a similar age to Jasper, I too am now trying to rediscover my Welsh roots. While I never tried to achieve all those All Welsh things which Jasper achieved, I have maybe gone that one step further - by moving house - back to The Land of My Fathers.

Highly recommended to anyone wanting to find out about Wales and the origins of many of its traditions.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 29 May 2013
Jaspar Rees conveys information about the Welsh language, Welsh culture and the country itself in a wonderfully entertaining and entertaining way.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 June 2012
I'm English born and bred, but with ancestry linking me to every country in the British Islands. I enjoyed reading about Jasper's attempts to engage in various aspects of Welsh culture and (as someone who has tried to learn Manx Gaelic), I could sympathise with him re those damn mutations! This book has actually given me back an appetite for our native languages, so maybe one day I will also be having Welsh conversations with fellow students at Nant. I would have preferred a bit more history in the book, and I was VERY disappointed with Jasper over the peeing incident on Offa's dyke. To embrace the culture and language of the country of your ancestral roots is one thing, but to disrespect the country where your children were born is wrong. Parts of the book made me laugh though, but then I have a Welsh friend whose daughter lives in Ohio. She's not called Jane! I will be buying my friend a copy.
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 21 August 2013
A book that I will definitely be returning to in the future. You don't need to be Welsh to enjoy this great read.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 November 2014
Thoroughly enjoyable read, though I got a bit weary of the structure (Doing Welsh Things), which was a bit contrived by the end; that said, I'm not sure how else it could have been done, and I admire the single-mindedness behind JR's approach. Well worth reading.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 30 November 2013
I too was born in London and have Welsh ancestry on my mum's side of the family. Unlike the author I have lived in Wales since the ahe of 11. Whilst I have learnt to deal with the abuse and take it as banter I am English and acknowledge both my English and Welsh ancestry. This alone was enough for me to buy the book and read with ease all the experiences to get in touch with his Welshness. I fully support him spreading the language buy got angry over his casual racism towards the English even though he is English (I refer to him pissing on the English side of Offa's Dyke). Where does he help others to learn Welsh when grasping a decent knowledge of the language?...The London Welsh Centre, Grays Inn Rd....London! The way he clings on to being Welsh is like the way Americans call themselves Irish! Mostly a fun read, but the liberal preaching needed to be toned down a bit.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)