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Daryl Leeworthy

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

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“...the vast amount of evidence is brought together to build a narrative which brings the history of this period to life and emphasises the vitality of community politics in south Wales.”
- Nye Davies, Wales Arts Review

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.










Daryl Leeworthy is the Rhys Davies Trust Research Fellow based at Swansea University. He is the author, most recently, of Elaine Morgan: A Life Behind The Screen (2020) and A Little Gay History of Wales (2019). His major new biography of the Rhondda novelist, playwright and broadcaster, Gwyn Thomas, is forthcoming in the Modern Wales series.