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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
23


on 27 November 2015
Very good.
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on 8 January 2017
Looked good. Given away as a gift.
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on 4 June 2017
Arrived in excellent condition and very well priced.
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on 21 May 2012
This "Story of Wales" is a spin-off from a television series. It has the merits and demerits of that genre but deserves to be judged within the context of its intended readership.

In terms of word count and the author's background as a general man of letters it cannot stand up against the heavyweight academic historians of Wales. But nor was it intended to; it is pitched at a popular audience. This is made clear from the fact that the publishers have opted to give a larger blurb and photograph to a television face than to the actual author. The view through a cultural lens anyhow varies from that of the professional historian. As example, the Eton-educated director of "The Proud Valley", we are told, originally wanted to call it "One in Five", in reference to the injury rate in the mines at the time.

The book has several virtues. It is clearly structured; five parts, divided into twenty-eight chapters. It is readable throughout. Thus Vikings do not just attack but "they would shark in from the open waters." The author reports on a woman in wartime Cardiff dawdling on her way to the air raid shelter. The reason is that she cannot locate her teeth. "Hitler's dropping bombs, not sandwiches" comments her neighbour.

I personally have small interest in medievalism, where and when the borders of Sycharth or Deheubarth may have moved and shifted. But I am interested in the last couple of centuries. The Rebecca Riots happened in my part of Wales- a former tollbooth that was attacked is visible from the room in which I write. I began by seeing what the book had to say. The Riots get a couple of pages and it is a full and good description.

It is right up to date. It is good on the history of rugby. It describes the decline and loss of all the great primary industries. "The region suffered hugely from deprivation and community breakdown. Some communities became ghost villages." But the writing avoids the posture of the paid-up victimologist. It is wary of a shrill patriotism. A meaty excerpt of a speech by Aneurin Bevan is quoted, fearing government by a small coven from the Fro. It is a piece of history now but it is good that the text does not evade these contradictions. More street parties were held, it reports, in celebration of 2011's royal wedding than in any English region outside London.
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on 16 February 2013
This was recommended by an acquaintance and my husband is enjoying it, so far, but it's difficult to really comment.
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on 11 March 2014
Loved this book, I bought it as a gift for my dad and he really enjoyed it then he wouldn't shut up about the things he'd learned so I decided to give it a try and I'm very glad I did. You won't be disappointed, if you want to learn about Welsh history then you won't find a better guide, trust me I've looked
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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'.
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on 15 October 2013
It's a very well written book. It's the story of Wales so not everything is in there. m ore detailed battles i.e. where when why and dates of the battles would of been good but overall its a good book covers the jest of it. I bought it in an independent book shop for £20 (hardback) which was worth it. Its currently £6.99 on Amazon (paperback) I recommend you buy it a good companion to the tv series.
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on 16 September 2016
This book serves as a good, basic, readable, introduction to Wales. It's definately encouraged me to read further on this subject. Both sides of my family are originally Welsh but because I was born & bred in London I sadly missed out on Welsh history & culture. Strangely enough though, I've always been interested & drawn back towards Wales and am in fact now moving there. Therefore it seemed a good time to learn about the country of my ancestors. So if you wish to be gently introduced to the story of Wales in an easy readable starter book this is pretty good one to start with.
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on 14 March 2013
This was even better than the TV series, obviously not including the aerial shots on tv, but very good info
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