Rita Singer reviews Gwalia Patagonia by Jon Gower

Gwalia Patagonia

Gomer, £14.99

Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Mimosa’s landing at Porth Madryn, Jon Gower’s Gwalia Patagonia is the latest contribution to an already extensive body of history books and travel writing about Y Wladfa. In twenty-two chapters, he covers a truly astonishing breadth of topics: the historical circumstances which led to the establishment of a Welsh settlement in the most unlikely of places, the first endeavours in making the Patagonian territory habitable, the Argentinian genocide of the Tehuelche, the rise and fall of the railway, Welsh-language culture, family histories, natural history, trade relations and local myths and legends. The exploration of a century and a half of Welsh lives in desert country through broad historical brushstrokes as well as the fine details of personal stories show the author’s commitment to the topic. Gwalia Patagonia is thus largely indebted to Gower’s own journey to Argentina.

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