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Daryl Leeworthy

Labour Country: Political Radicalism and Social Democracy in South Wales 1831-1985

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Since the end of WWI, one party has held the momentum of political and social change in South Wales: the Labour Party. Its triumph was never fully guaranteed. It came quickly amidst a torrent of ideas, actions, and war. But the result was a vibrant, effective and long-lasting democracy. The result was Labour Country.

In this bold, controversial book, Daryl Leeworthy takes a fresh and provocative look at the struggle through radical political action for social democracy in Wales. The reasons for Labour’s triumph, he argues, lay in radical pragmatism and an ability to harness lofty ideals with meaningful practicality. This was a place of dreamers as well as doers. The world of Arthur Horner and Aneurin Bevan.

And yet, as the author shows, this history is now over. Although a trajectory leads from the end of the Miners’ Strike both to the advent of devolution and the circumstances that led to the Brexit vote in 2016, these are exits from Labour Country, not a continuation. Sustained by a powerful synthesis of scholarship and original research, passionate and committed, this book brings the cubist epic of South Wales and its politics to life.

About the author

Daryl Leeworthy is a social and cultural historian of modern Wales. He was educated in Pontypridd and at the University of Oxford where he studied history and politics. He gained his doctorate from Swansea University in 2011 and published his first book, Fields of Play: The Sporting Heritage of Wales to coincide with the Olympic Games in 2012. He has taught in universities in Canada, the North of England, and Wales, and is currently a tutor in adult education in Merthyr Tydfil.