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 by Cynfig ab Meurig who was killed by Gruffydd Ab Llewellyn who was slaughtered by his brother's, uncle's, grand-daughter's niece ......
That isn't the author's fault of course, and this is only 700 pages for 10,000 years of history, so perhaps it isn't surprising that much of the story behind all the tumult tumbles by largely unaddressed. Maybe nobody even knows the stories, but, as others had mentioned when I was buying the book, there does seem a lack of personality in the narrative and there are (so far) no examples of contemporary literature and art (Why not quote these few 'fabulous poems' that are all that remain? And how about some images to illustrate period artefacts and style - and its transformations?)
I'm no historian but I do live in Wales and this book (so far) is a gem. The landscape around me changes as I read, which is what I had hoped for. It's also a goldmine for sourcing places to visit, whether from the narrative or the maps of Roman settlements, mesolithic stones, etc.
Whilst it is fairly dry this is definitely a *Welsh* history of Wales. Good job, John, RIP. Thanks.
Considering the broadness of the subject, there is a reasonable amount of detail on the more important aspects -- detail which gets to the nub of the matter before moving on to the next topic. For a comprehensive overview of the subject, the book is indispensable, but it also serves as an effective reference book whose topics can be traced in the substantial contents pages. A love of his country emerges from Professor Davies's fluid writing, and a feeling of optimism emerges from the reading of the final chapters after the catalogue of woe in regard to the negative impact of English expansionism. The standard work on the subject, accessible to students and all other interested parties alike.
Excellent. Haven't stopped reading it since it arrived. Full of information on all things Welsh. I am learning the Welsh language after moving here and can now read Postman Pat in Welsh. Seriously glad I was able to obtain John Davies' book from you and will pass on the details to my fellow history addicts.
This is the seminal work on the subject written concisely, clearly and interestingly throughout whether in the original Welsh or inits excellent English translation. No library whether municipal or private should be without it and it should be advisory reading for anyone who has a problem understanding why Wales and England are not perceived as the same by the Welsh. it was particularly well received by a Dutch Psychologist acquaintance. The latest edition is totally up to date.
Written by a historian for ordinary people Accessible language, interestingly crafted and a pleasure to read. I recommend anyone who is interested in the development of Wales read this book. I especially like the way John Davies described the development of Modern Wales through the 19th and 20th centuries. I will read it again one day.
Dr Davies modestly titled his book 'A History of Wales". A wise decision as history can be difficult to define when so much is based on subjective information and story telling passed down over many centuries. 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.
ok, ok, i'm not completely finished reading this book, but i can tell you that what i'vew read so far has been astonishingly interesting and just so easy to read! it even gave me a crisis of conscience concerning my choice of university course, and i feel that a book that moves you in any way is a book that you should own. the writing is both interesting and informative, captivating and convincing. i honestly am glad that i own this book, and now i want the Welsh version, because the English one was so so good!