A History of Wales Paperback – 25 Jan 2007
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About the Author
John Davies is a native of the Rhondda. He was educated in schools in Treorci, Bwlchllan and Tregaron and at University College, Cardiff, and Trinity College, Cambridge. He taught at the University Colleges of Swansea and Aberystwyth and was for eighteen years the Warden of Neuadd Pantycelyn, Aberystwyth. His other publications include Cardiff and the Marquesses of Bute, Hanes Cymru, Broadcasting and the BBC in Wales, The Making of Wales, The Celts and Cardiff: a Pocket Guide. He is the consultant editor of The Encyclopaedia of Wales. His wife comes from Blaenau Gwent and they have two daughters and two sons.
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Top Customer Reviews
Yet this is a masterful book, probably the best book on Welsh history to date. It is clear, factual but never tedious. Above all, it places Welsh history where it belongs; alongside English and Scottish history, the latter two dominating British text books for many years.
It is very tempting to become overly romantic about Wales, in a way that distorts historical facts. The relationship between Wales and England is a good exmaple. John Davies deals with these conflicts of interest in an honest and illuminating way, remaining objective whilst never failing to under-portray Wales.
A highly recommended book for those genuinely interested in the first nation of Britain.
John Davies changed all that. Always objective and fair-minded, he neither parrots cliches, as so many books on Wales do, nor rides his own hobby-horses. He gives space to political history, social history, economic history and cultural history. He manages to cram a remarkable quantity of information into 700-odd pages, while still keeping it very easy to read.
The second edition has a new chapter taking us up to the Welsh Assembly era. Sufficient to say that it is of the same high standard as the remainder of the book. If you only buy one book on Welsh history, make it this one.
Perhaps history is to blame here -- the Welsh have been only marginally protected by geography; the mountainous area was difficult terrain to conquer, but the supply lines to those mountains were relatively easy to maintain and sustain, unlike the trek to the northern reaches of Scotland or crossing the sea into Ireland, areas that (however much English history might want to contradict this statement) never were completely conquered and subdued, remaining under the hegemony but outside the total control of Londinium/London from Roman times to the recent past. Wales was never so fortunate. Indeed, it is a miracle that the Welsh survive. The Scots lost land, language and independence, but retained administrative and legal systems separations that preserved many aspects of nationhood. The Irish never completely lost independence. The Welsh, however, lost everything of nationhood, and barely sustained an independent culture. Thus, when the 'nations' of the British Isles began to re-exert their independent interpretations of history, the Welsh were among the last.
However, sometimes the last shall be first. In terms of quality of writing and interpretation, the volume by John Davies, `A History of Wales', is indeed in a class of its own in terms of Welsh history. Dafydd Elis Thomas read into the `Hansard' (the British Parliamentary equivalent of the `Congressional Record') that this is 'the greatest of book of Welsh history ever written'.Read more ›
It covers the history of the country from the dawn of time to 20th Century. So if you wish to know about Ffynnon Beuno or the Rebecca Wars, this is your book.
Excellent reference for Historical writers.
The latest edition is totally up to date.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved the pal-eolithic start and into the Roman period. The Early Middle Ages are bogging down into Meredudd ab Cynfig killed Cadwallon, son of Meurig, then Mereddud was killed... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Mick McMikemas
A brilliant overview and easy to read ( which is an accomplishment since I hated history at school.Published 12 months ago by hym45