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Welsh History Review


Vol. 3, nos. 1-4 1966-67

short notice : Book review.

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Cymru Mewn Hanes, Cyfrol I: Y Goresgynwyr (University of Wales
Press, Cardiff, 1966. Pp. xvi, 217, 10s. 6d.) is a translation by
Sir Thomas Parry-Williams of David Fraser's admirable textbook,
The Invaders (reviewed, ante, II, no. 1, 107). The original volume is now
the best school book on the early history of Wales, and this translation
will commend itself to those who teach through the medium of Welsh.
Mr. Fraser's lively and informed narrative loses nothing in its translation
by so distinguished a Welsh prose writer as Sir Thomas Parry-Williams,
while the technical vocabulary of archaeology is interpreted with
great skill.
A. J. Roderick (ed.), Medieval Welsh History (Historical Association
leaflet TH. 14, 1967) presents school teachers with an outline course in
Welsh history, revising that published in 1953. Its recapitulation of the
main developments in the millenium and a half between the Roman
conquest and the Act of Union is accompanied by a suggested syllabus of
topics for the classroom and a brief bibliography. As long as medieval
Wales continues to deter writers of text books, this guide will prove
invaluable. But as long as the period 1282-1536 remains neglected by
scholars, this booklet will lack the coherence and sureness of touch in
dealing with these centuries which it displays elsewhere.
The Historical Association has also published another useful pamphlet,
The Teaching of Welsh History in Secondary Schools (TH. 23, 1966).
Prepared by Professor A. H. Dodd, this will undoubtedly prove of value to
'0 level' and 'A level' students at school, and possibly to first-year under-
graduates as well. Professor Dodd helpfully lists ten major themes which
afford keys to the study of medieval and modern Welsh history, ranging
from the Teutonic invasions in the post-Roman period to the political
complexities of the nineteenth century. The sections on 'Recent Work
and Current Trends' and the Bibliography, however, are not wholly
satisfactory; some of the inclusions and exclusions are equally puzzling.
No reference is made to works in the Welsh language; thus the books of
R. T. Jenkins, for instance, do not appear. While the bibliographical
section on Tudor Wales is admirable, the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries receive less adequate treatment. It is odd to see no mention of
David Williams's John Frost, of Brinley Thomas's writings on Welsh
industrialization, or of recent pioneering works by Gwyn A. Williams,
P. D. G. Thomas or Ieuan Gwynedd Jones. For recent politics, Sir
Reginald Coupland's Welsh and Scottish Nationalism and Sir Frederick
Rees's The Problem of Wales ought to be added, as should several recent
biographies. Finally, it is difficult to see the purpose, in a pamphlet of
this kind, of including lengthy reference to works still only 'in prepara-
tion'. For schoolchildren, surely publication, not preparation, ought to
be the touchstone.
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