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John Winterson Richards has Welsh parents and was born in Cardiff, the capital of Wales, in no less a place than Saint David's Hospital. Despite this most promising start, he turned out badly. It was soon discovered that he possessed a singing voice that would offend a frog, he enjoyed drinking French red wines even when beer was available, and the nicest thing ever said about his attempt to turn himself into a tolerably mediocre loose-head prop forward was that his 'enthusiasm for rugby greatly exceeds his skill'. Obviously he was unfit for the company of civilised people. He was therefore exiled to England. Whilst suffering this, the greatest punishment that can be inflicted on any Welshman, he got himself educated and studied to become a lawyer (being too lazy for medicine and completely unsuited for the Church). Living with the English for several years so broadened his mind that he became a rabid Welsh nationalist. Finally overcome with hiraeth, he returned home and set up a management consultancy with the aim of bringing enterprise and prosperity to his fellow countrymen. Since few of them appear to be interested in enterprise or prosperity, he has had only limited success to date. This is probably just as well: had he actually succeeded, he would have caused far more offence than his singing ever did.
'Essential reading for all partners of the Welsh! Written by an expat Welshman who has lived in England and now returned to the homeland, this little book is wonderful. The observations of the peculiarities and foibles of the Welsh are highly accurate and I could see myself in almost every paragraph, if not myself then certainly a not too distant relative or friend! My wife is English and she feels the accuracy of the book is second to none and would probably never have married me had she read it 20 years ago. I have sent copies to friends all over the world. Enjoy the whole book in an evening then take it down the pub the next night where you can share the humour!' -- Reviewer from London, England (ex Swansea) 'Surprisingly good, generally accurate, often funny and without much of the bile that often characterises discussions of the Welsh. Having been born and raised in Wales, I think that the author rather underplays the enmity between North and South but he compensates in other areas, including a very good definition of Gwald (usually and inadequately translated as country).' -- Review from J E Davidson, UK 'Richards has an incisive wit and a dry almost acerbic style that produces a beautifully written, and genuinely funny guide to my own homeland, Wales. Culturally, it is possible when you come from a small nation, to take yourself too seriously. Richards, also a Welshman, avoids this with honest, self-deprecating wit. He does for Wales what Omid Jalili does for Iran and the 'Goodness gracious me' team do for India. A great read or a nice gift for the Welshman (or someone who is not so blessed) in your life.' -- Review from S Fairney, Hampshire, UK 'A short but very witty and extremely well observed overview of Wales, its people and culture. Working its way through religion, sport, social structure (the Welsh Matriarchy), drinking, rugby, and more drinking, it had me laughing out loud with its insightful observations (although these were not always complimentary, they were all true!).' -- Reviewer from Ottawa, Canada 'So accurate it's uncanny. An accurate and entertaining (and sympathetic) account of the Welsh, their history and life, and why they are not, definitely not, like their neighbours - the English.' -- Reviewer from Londonderry, Northern Ireland 'As an Englishman, dismissing the Welsh with jokes about sheep, beer, mining and rugby, comes as second nature. This book achieves the mini-miracle of convincing the reader that, while there may be a fair bit of truth in these prejudices, there is more to it than that, and that the Welsh are different, not just an addition to England. I expected to be at best slightly amused, but came away with fresh knowledge, and (briefly!) sympathetic to the subject matter, which surprised me. The author covers the subject with humour, learning and passion - but then, he is Welsh.' -- Reviewer from San Juan, Alicante, Spain 'A definitive guide to what makes the Welsh tick. In an informative and entertaining way this book looks at what makes the Welsh different, and what makes them special. As someone with ancestral roots in Wales, family connections, and a fairly frequent visitor I found it well worth reading and very true to life.' -- Reviewer 'A reader from Ireland'