Review – The Story of Wales

Posted October 1, 2020 by Nicky in Reviews / 2 Comments

Cover of The Story of Wales by Jon GowerThe Story of Wales, Jon Gower

The Story of Wales is an attempt to tell (some of) the history of Wales, and come to some kind of understanding about what shaped the nation as it is now. A lot of this history is familiar to me, but only vaguely and through literature, so it was nice to get it all laid out and clarified.

Well, “nice” is a very bad word for it, since the history of Wales quickly becomes a history of oppression of the language and customs. People don’t like hearing this, but what are the Welsh Not, Brad y Llyfrau Glaision, the wanton drowning of Capel Celyn to get water to Liverpool, but the oppression of a native people? And these events aren’t all hundreds of years in the past: Capel Celyn was drowned in 1965, after Liverpool put it through Parliament to avoid having to get planning permission from the local council (who would have denied it). All the Welsh protests against the drowning mattered not at all; only what the English Parliament said.

It was a little funny to see my tiny part in history mentioned there: I voted in the 2011 referendum, and voted “yes”. I wonder if one day I can go home to live in an independent Wales — I’ve never particularly wanted the end of the United Kingdom, but if an independent Scotland and an independent Wales can re-enter the EU, I’ll head home like a shot to get my rights back. It’s nice to know a little more of the history of my home, for sure, though The Story of Wales was at times a little dry or unengaging.

Rating: 3/5

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2 responses to “Review – The Story of Wales

  1. I always knew, I suppose having my cousins digging in the slurry for the children of Aberfan when I was only I was only 5 years old and seeing their white marble memorial on the hillside frequently in my childhood made it hard not to ‘get it’. I’m sorry if I did not explain it to you.

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