‘Richly humane, viscerally political, generously multi-voiced, Brittle with Relics is oral history at its revelatory best: containing multitudes and powerfully evoking that most remote but also resonant of times, the day before yesterday.’
There is no present in Wales,
And no future;
There is only the past,
Brittle with relics.
– ‘A Welsh Landscape’, R. S. Thomas
In the closing third of the twentieth century, Wales experienced the simultaneous effects of deindustrialisation, the subsequent loss of employment and community cohesion, and the struggle for its language and identity. These changes were largely forced upon the country, whose own voice, rarely agreed upon within its borders, had to fight to be heard outside of Wales.
Brittle with Relics is a history of the people of Wales undergoing some of the country’s most seismic and traumatic events: the disasters of Aberfan and Tryweryn; the rise of the Welsh language movement; the Miners’ Strike and its aftermath; and the narrow vote in favour of partial devolution.
Featuring the voices of Neil Kinnock, Rowan Williams, Leanne Wood, Gruff Rhys, Michael Sheen, Nicky Wire, Sian James, Welsh language activists, members of former mining communities and many more, this is a vital history of a nation determined to survive, while maintaining the hope that Wales will one day thrive on its own terms.
‘A testament to the brutal circumstances that bonded the communities of Wales into a new polity for the 21st century.’
‘This book is a guide to remembering who we can be when we work together.’
‘An essential telling of Welshness that contains a powerful reflection of Englishness, too.’
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