Owain Glyndwr: The Story of the Last Prince of Wales Paperback – 15 Nov 2013
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Accessible and highly readable' (THE WESTERN MAIL)
About the Author
Terry Breverton is a former businessman, consultant and academic and now a full-time writer. Terry has presented documentaries on the Discovery Channel and the History Channel. Terry is the author of many books for Amberley on many subjects, including: Owain Glyndwr, Richard III, Jasper Tudor, Owen Tudor, Tudor recipes, Henry VII, Welsh history and the First World War. He lives near Maesycrugiau in Carmarthenshire.
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Thank you i will out for some more of your books
Having researched this period at great length myself, I can see that Mr. Breverton has left no stone unturned whilst researching his subject. His account is as accurate as any can be when dealing with a historical subject. What makes the Owain Glyndwr story stand out above the stories concerning the earlier Welsh Princes and their resistance to the Anglo -Norman conquest of Wales is the way that the Owain Glyndwr War, from its early beginnings in North East Wales in Sept 1400 had spread right across Wales by 2002. Wherever he went, he was greeted and welcomed by the oppressed native population. Whereas the Princes of Gwynedd had failed to unite Wales and after 200 years of conquest, Owain Glyndwr had liberated vast areas of Wales in just two years. His army was mainly made up of liberated peasants and the war lasted for around 21 years in some places, in a Wales that had a population of just 500,000 against England's might and population of 3 million.
Understanding the above is central to understanding the Owain Glyndwr story and Mr. Breverton has skillfully succeeded to display his understanding of Owain Glyndwr as an extraordinary Welsh patriotic Warrior Prince fighting and winning a Welsh War of Liberation against all odds.
This book is a must for those Welsh people, like myself, who were not taught Welsh history at school and, for the same reason, it has to be a must for all school libraries in Wales. It is also a must for any student studying Welsh history and for anyone seeking to be reunited with their national identity but, last but not least, I would strongly recommend it as an interesting read and a very useful book to always have close by to dip into for facts of events that happened, dates and names of 100's of characters that played a role in the Owain Glyndwr War of Independence. A book that can be put to good use for an Owain Glyndwr film maybe?
Firstly, the author Terry Breverton is a prolific writer on Wales and Welsh culture, and this shows in the entire tone of the book. It has a strong pro-Welsh bias throughout, which given the subject matter is perhaps not surprising, but it is taken to extremes too often. As a Welshman I wanted to read of one of the nation's heroes without choking on Welsh Nationalist propaganda. Which brings me to the second point.
Terry Breverton is not a historian. His background is in marketing, which shows, and he does not present facts in a balanced way. The duty of a historian is to present pertinent documentation in an unbiased manner and, where a judgement call on validity must be made, to explain the reasoning. Breverton simply states that it is self-evident, for example, that accounts of English brutality are all true and not exaggerated, whereas corresponding accounts of Welsh brutality are clearly all false and propaganda! He also nicely cherry-picks which accounts to believe and which to negate, based purely on whether they are pro- or anti- Welsh (in his estimation). The idea that all English were cackling villains whereas all Welsh were shining saints is laughable, yet apparently this is what he would have us believe.
Thirdly, large portions of the book are simply rambling accounts from previous historians, many of them written hundreds of years after the events they describe, with no apparent processing. This leaves the reader ploughing through a succession of archaic writings, many of which are describing the same events but written by different people. The author's input seems minimal for large tracts. If a reader is being invited to read someone else's work on the subject, this is what referencing is for!
It's not all bad, there is a general thread of events that can be followed through the book, albeit difficult to follow sometimes through the overly wordy text, which rambles off on tangents away from the subject matter quite often. Perhaps this is simply the result of Owain Glyndwr's life being quite poorly chronicled by his contemporaries, so the author wanted to pad it out a little (maybe he was paid by the word). Nevertheless, I could not recommend this book and would instead re-direct readers to the pocket book by Glanmor Williams on the subject, which if much lighter, has the advantages of clarity, relevance, balance and readability.
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