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Gwybodaeth Lyfryddol
These Poor Hands - The Autobiography of a Miner Working in South Wales
B. L. Coombes
ISBN: 9780708315637 (0708315631)Dyddiad Cyhoeddi Ionawr 2011
Cyhoeddwr: Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru / University of Wales Press, Caerdydd
Fformat: Clawr Meddal, 216x138 mm, 208 tudalen Iaith: Saesneg Ar gael Ein Pris: £10.99 
Does dim Adolygiad Cwsmer i'r teitl hwn.
Ysgrifennwch Adolygiad Cwsmer
Adargraffiad, gyda nodiadau llawn, o hunangofiant cynnes B. L. Coombes, yn portreadu caledi a brawdgarwch bywyd dosbarth gweithiol clos y glöwr yn ne Cymru, gyda chyflwyniad llawn gwybodaeth am waith yr awdur gan Bill Jones a Chris Williams. Cyhoeddwyd gyntaf yn 1939; adargraffwyd yn ei ffurf bresennol yn 2002.

A full annotated re-edition of a classic miner's autobiography being the warm story of B. L. Coombes, portraying the hardship and comradeship of the close-knit mining working-class community in south Wales, with an informative introduction about the author's work by Bill Jones and Chris Williams. First published in 1939. Republished in its present form in 2002.
This is the autobiography of B. L. Coombes, a miner who started work in the coal mines in 1893 at the age of 17 after becoming disillusioned with country life. The title comes from the fact that the most frequent mining injuries are to the hands. It could be mistakenly thought to imply self-pity, but nothing could be further from the tone of the book.

It is written in a conversational manner, so much so that it would be easy to imagine sitting and listening to Coombs himself, but this is no comfortable fire-side tale. His first night’s work, confronted with a cramped and confined space, while the earth made unfamiliar noises around him, sets the scene for this gripping account of his mining life.

This is a difficult book to put aside. It is harrowing to learn of the working conditions, the scant regard for safety and the terrible accidents that he witnessed. But the book is also full of humour and we get a real sense of the strength of friendships forged. Social conditions of the time are described in detail, as are the experiences of his early married life and how he and his new bride coped in their cramped living area, sharing a cooking range and clothes-line.

My emotions were fully tested throughout this gripping book and when I’d read the final chapter, I couldn’t help thinking, ‘What if this had been me?’

First published in 1939, These Poor Hands has been hailed as the classic miner’s autobiography. Accompanied by an excellent introduction by Bill Jones and Chris Williams, this unmissable book is as relevant today as when it was first written.

Anthony Roy

It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

Gellir defnyddio'r adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.
Gwybodaeth Bellach:
These Poor Hands - The Autobiography of a Miner Working in South Wales, was first published in June 1939. It was an instant bestseller, and its fame catapulted its author into the front rank of ‘proletarian writers’. B. L. Coombes, an English-born migrant, had lived in the Vale of Neath since before the First World War, but only turned to writing in the 1930s as a way of communicating the plight of the miners and their communities to the wider world.

These Poor Hands presents, in a documentary style, the working life of the miner as well as the author’s experiences in the lockouts of 1921 and 1926. It demonstrates Coombes’s desire to offer an accurate account of the lives of miners and their families, and carries a sincere moral charge in its description of the waste of human potential that is industrial capitalism in decline.

Chris Williams is Professor and Director, Centre for Modern and Contemporary Wales at the University of Glamorgan. Bill Jones is Senior Lecturer in the School of History and Archaeology, Cardiff University. They are authors of B. L. Coombes in the Writers of Wales series and the editors of With Dust Still in His Throat - A B. L. Coombes Anthology.
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