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What an odd little book. It's from the 1920's, so first of all you'll have to excuse the casual racism (by which I mean the author is convinced that each race possess certain natural attributes, he doesn't go making racial slurs or anything like that or I'd give it a considerably lower rating...). Even more strangely, some Welsh names are anglicised (Owain Glyndwr becomes Owen Glendower, worse, Rhys becomes Rees which is just wrong on every conceivable level). As a short history, it's not a bad introduction, but sometimes it's a little TOO short - the chapter on Glyndwr, a Welsh hero of Arthurian status, is only 2-3 pages long - possibly because of the author's political bias (see below).
The style of writing feels at many times as though it was written for a young audience : i.e., "Now I will tell you all about such-and-such.... I have told you lots about this, so now I will tell you of that...",. The author also seems at once both patriotic to Wales but a loyal subject of the Empire and is at pains not to offend anyone, apparently a historian who's willing to let bygones be bygones. Maybe we could all learn something from this, but it does tend to make him walk on eggshells. For instance, in the chapter on Llewyellen the Last, he actually says that we shouldn't be bitter about the Conquest because both sides were at fault. I can't see any modern Welsh historian being nearly so gracious.
It certainly isn't at all like any modern history I've read - nowadays authors tend to have axes to grind and provide more interpretative accounts. In this case, if the author is applying any interpretation at all it is only to say that we could all just get along with each other if only we all shared a nice cup of tea. In short, it's quite odd, but curiously engaging.Read more ›
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