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Distributed for University of Wales Press

People, Places and Passions

A Social History of Wales and the Welsh, 1870 - 1945, Volume 1

The first of two volumes on the social history of Wales in the period 1870–1945, People, Places and Passions concentrates on the social events and changes which created, shaped, and drove modern Wales. Russell Davies examines a range of social forces little considered elsewhere by studies in Welsh history, accounting for the role played by the people of Wales in times of war, in the age of the British Empire, and in technological change and innovation, as the Welsh traveled the developing capitalist and consumerist world in search of fame and fortune.

448 pages | 11 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2015

History: British and Irish History

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“Russell Davies has lavished attention on some of the most neglected corners of the Welsh past—those seeking a familiar narrative of Wales and the Welsh should look away now. People, Places and Passions embraces complexity, contradiction, and controversy at every turn in a detailed and highly readable study of a fascinating period in Welsh history.”

Louise Miskell, Swansea University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Prologue: Sources for a ‘Sullen Art’

Introduction: Private Lives, the Individual and Society
‘She ate the food of angels’: after the death of a fasting girl
‘Perchance to dream?’: private lives, public witnesses
‘Ac eto nid myfi’: individual experience, emotional expression and society
Hen wlad fy mamau – our mothers’ land – women and Welsh society

1 The Structures of Everyday Life: Endurance and Endeavour
People and places: vital statistics
‘Ill fares the land’: the failures and fortunes of Welsh agriculture
Heavy metal: ‘the age of steel’
Industry and diversity: copper, tin and transport
How black was my valley? The rise and fall of ‘King Coal’

2 ‘Lead us into Temptation’: Consumerism, Creativity and Change
Envy – ‘keeping up with the Joneses’: consumerism, fashion and beauty
The conquest of time and space
Technology and social change

3 ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’: Ambitions, Aspirations and Education
Ambitions and aspirations, classes and masses.
‘The Corn is Green’: education, ‘the great escape ladder’

4 ‘Ffair Wagedd’ – Vanity Fair: People, Class and Hierarchy
The decline and fall of the Welsh aristocracy?
Great expectations: nobility and mobility
People and professions: the middling people
Useful toil: labouring lives
Bleak expectations: poverty and pauperism

5 Hiraeth and Heartbreak – Wales and the World: Curiosity, Boldness and Zest
River out of Eden: migration and emigration
Gwalia Deserta: the Welsh in England
Wandering Stars
The American Dream
East of Eden: the Pacific Welsh
‘I Wlad sydd well i fyw’: Patagonia
‘To boldly go’: adventure and adventurers ‘The Worst Journey in the World’: explorers and exploration

6 ‘The Blood never Dried’ – the Welsh in Empire: Envy, Greed and Zeal
The Welshman’s burden: the Welsh and empire
‘Rwy’n gweld o bell’: religion and imperialism
‘If this is your land, where are your stories?’: settlers and natives
‘The day of the scorpions’: the Welsh and the Raj
‘Emerald Peacocks’: imperial identity and the experiences of empire
‘The making of history’: the Welsh and the Colonial Office
Soldiers of the Widow: some ‘small, sad wars of empire’

7 ‘Ha! Ha! among the Trumpets’ – a Century of Warfare: Cowardice, Courage and Hatred
‘Gwaedd y bechgyn’: Wales and the Welsh fight to end war
‘All Quiet on the Western Front’: some experiences of war
‘Keep the home fires burning’: the war at home
The Hall of Mirrors: the illusion of peace 1919–39

8 ‘Once more unto the breach’ – Wales and the Welsh go to War, Again: Fear, Terror and Tragedy
‘The morbid age?’: Wales in the twenties and thirties
‘Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye’
‘Run Rabbit Run’: the war at home
Welsh Warriors
‘The Wizard War’: the battle of wits
‘These are the men’: Dunkirk and other disasters
The Real Cruel Sea: the war at sea
‘Their finest hour’: the war in the air
Hell on earth: prisoners of war

L’Heure Bleue (The Blue Hour): a brief conclusion


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