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The period since 1939 saw more rapid and significant change than any other time in Welsh history. Wales developed a more assertive identity of its own and some of the apparatus of a nation state. Yet its economy floundered between boom and bust, its traditional communities were transformed and the Welsh language and other aspects of its distinctiveness were undermined by a globalizing world. Wales was also deeply divided by class, language, ethnicity, gender, religion and region. Its people grew wealthier, healthier and more educated but they were not always happier. This ground-breaking book examines the story of Wales since 1939, giving voice to ordinary people and the variety of experiences within the nation. This is a history of not just a nation, but of its residents' hopes and fears, their struggles and pleasures and their views of where they lived and the wider world.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'This is a truly magisterial study and analysis which deserves and will certainly achieve a wide and indeed varied readership.' Gwales.com (Welsh Books Council) 'Martin Johnes has written a fresh, insightful, and interesting study of Welsh history since 1939, telling the story of a small yet complicated nation in a fascinating and engaging way that will be of interest not only to Welsh historians, but to scholars in all areas of modern history.' Twentieth Century British History 'As a social history of a given corner of our world, this is a good book; scholarly, erudite, comprehensive and exciting. As an account of modern Wales, this is an important, perhaps even vital, document. Indeed, in writing it, Johnes has marked himself out as an historian fit to join the likes of Gwyn Alf Williams, Kenneth Morgan and John Davies as a great panoramic storyteller of the two western peninsulas resolutely known as Wales, but whose recent past is shaped by things that matter more' Goodreads.com 'Martin Johnes has written a meticulously informed account of our recent history, founded on prodigious data, and refreshingly enriched by the 'evidence' of poets and novelists. It is a healthy corrective to idealised narratives of Welsh progress, although perhaps a milder one than he may have intended.' Agenda 'Modern Welsh history is not conveniently 'boxed' into categories in Wales since 1939, but instead its multifarious shades of grey of are articulated. Johnes has succeed in portraying the diversity of Wales in the second half of the 20th-century and has remedied the long-standing neglect of several topics under the microscope here. In many ways, this book does for Wales what Peter Clarke's Hope and Glory or Dominic Sandbrook's post-war histories do for Britain: providing an approachable history that does not forget its academic roots.' Reviews in History '[It] should be the standard narrative for some time of the forces that have combined to make the Wales of the new century's second decade.' Wales Arts Review 'This is a truly magisterial study and analysis which deserves and will certainly achieve a wide and indeed varied readership.' J. Graham Jones, Morgannwg: The Journal of Glamorgan History, volume LVI 2012 -- .