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Wales: Churches, Houses, Castles, By Simon Jenkins


Jenkins the Pundit may make enemies, but Jenkins the Guide-Historian deserves all his many friends. Here, the National Trust chairman follows up his superb gazetteers of England with an architectural tour through the Principality that will steer actual travellers and inspire armchair ones.

Always readable, never bland, Jenkins celebrates Norman keeps and medieval churches, Jacobean mansions and Victorian chapels, from Plas Newydd and Beaumaris on Anglesey down to Chepstow and Tintern Abbey on the edge of England. He thinks native self-deprecation, abetted by English snobbery, has made Wales "sell itself short". If so, this lavish volume should do wonders for the nation's self-esteem.