Pen & Sword Books

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The Welsh Braveheart

The Welsh Braveheart - The Last Prince of Wales written by Phil Carradice and published

by Pen & Sword Books - £20.00 - Hardback - Pages 216

Like William Wallace in Scotland, Owain Glyndwr fought for his country and was only finally defeated by superior numbers and the military genius of Henry V. Yet Glyndwr was not just a freedom fighter. He was the last native-born Prince of Wales, a man who initiated the first Welsh Parliament at Machynlleth and proposed an entirely independent Welsh church.

Glyndwr also laid plans for two Welsh universities, proposed a return to the far sighted and revolutionary Laws of Hywel Dda and formed a Tripartite Agreement with Henry Percy and Edmund Mortimer. It led to an invasion of England and nearly brought the reign of Henry V to an end.

And yet, despite his success and popularity, Glyndwr's rebellion seriously damaged the Welsh economy with towns destroyed and much agricultural land laid to waste. Even so, he was never betrayed by his people, despite a huge reward being offered for his capture.

Glyndwr refused at least two offers of pardon from the English crown and remains the supreme champion of the underdog.

The only bad point I found about this book was the title, The Welsh Braveheart. While this isn’t really a negative about the book or for those that like to read history. It’s the association with William Wallace, there is nothing wrong with the man, strong, independent, a man who wanted the best for his country, just like Owain Glyndwr did. It's the modern day association with Mel Gibson, who starred in the morally corrupt and historically inaccurate film Braveheart, which I think stands as one of the most disparaged films in history when it comes to historical content. This is all from a book blogger who was born in Scotland and has spent the last 20 years living in Wales.

But on a lighter note and something Pen & Sword will want to concentrate more on. This was a really good read from start to finish, it is so good to read more books about Welsh figures, especially when the book can be written by Phil Carradice, who I know writes a lot about Welsh history. His books are always so clear and easy to read, when you are not Welsh the language and the names can feel a little intimidating but you don’t feel that with a Carradice book. Excellently explained story and facts, certainly a book I would champion to one and all, and I would love to see more books about Welsh leaders and heroes.

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