The Welsh Illusion
Wales has changed almost beyond recognition in the last twenty years, yet many still cling to the romantic image of what it once was rather than cope with the reality of what it has become. The persistence of myth in the face of incontrovertible evidence is one of the Welsh illusions analysed in this book. Another is the conjuring trick through which a new Wales has been discovered, and sometimes created, by politicians, broadcasters, journalists and historians. Patrick Hannan explores these changes and their origins in earlier decades, and describes how in the process so many people have been abruptly separated from their past. He does so in part through the stories of individuals, famous and unknown. How Sir Anthony Hopkins’ s grim schooldays prepared him for his most celebrated role; the belated arrival of the twentieth century in Aberystwyth; Chuck Berry and the death of deference; the rampant tribalism of the South Wales Valleys; Sir Winston Churchill’s part in inventing Welsh politics; the venom that lay behind Viscount Tonypandy’s apparently boundless Christian goodwill: these are some of the leads followed up by Hannan in search of his country. The Welsh Illusion is a provocative and entertaining contribution to the understanding of how Wales reached its present condition and where, under a new system of government, it may be going.