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Disappointing, Definitely not 'The' History of Wales.
on 15 May 2012
A very disappointing book which does not deserve the article `The'. It has a good journalistic style but remains a very personal view of selected aspects of the history of Wales. It is clear it is not based on personal research but is an amalgam of themes from secondary sources so though it is easy to read the subjects are disjointed with no discernible thread between chapters. There are some good interesting passages such as the five pages (126-132) on the Black Death.
Unfortunately the book is also marred by factual errors of which here are a few examples. The Black Prince died in 1376 not prematurely in 1346 (p 133). The battle of Bryn Glas was in 1402 not 1403 (p 139 - 140). The strange statement `Many of the copper mines of Wales often sprang up alongside coal mining areas' (p 192.) Copper mines and coal mines are in totally different geological areas. Copper ore had to be shipped to coal rich areas or vice versa. Again `From 1845, the British navy plumped for copper bottomed ships': the boom in the naval usage of copper sheathing was in the 1780s after the invention of cold rolled copper bolts by 1845 Muntz metal (60% copper, 40% zinc with a trace of iron) was the favoured sheathing material. The Greenfield Valley was not coal rich (p 193: copper ore was shipped to St Helens not Greenfield.
There is no mention of the textile industries of north and mid Wales, of the brick and pottery industries, of the more recent oil and natural gas related developments or of the devastation caused to communities by the closure of coal mines, steel making and textile industries in the twentieth century. At best an easy to read book of interesting anecdotes but definitely not `The History of Wales'.