Classic : Book Review – How Green Was My Valley

How Green Was My Valley

Book review: How Green Was My ValleyHow Green Was My Valley is a 1939 novel by Richard Llewellyn, of a Welsh family and the mining community in which they lived. The novel is set in South Wales in the reign of Queen Victoria. It tells the story of the Morgans, a poor but respectable mining family of the South Wales Valleys, through the eyes of the youngest son, Huw Morgan.

Huw’s academic ability set him apart from his elder brothers and enabled him to consider a future away from this troubled industrial environment. His five brothers and his father were miners; after the eldest brother, Ivor, was killed in an mining accident, Huw moved in with his sister-in-law, Bronwen, with whom he has always been in love.One of Huw’s three sisters, Angharad, married the wealthy mine owner’s son, whom she did not love, and the marriage is an unhappy one. Huw’s father was killed in a mine explosion. After everyone Huw had known either died or moved away, he decided to leave as well, and toldus the story of his life just before he does.

An riveting story of the Morgans, How Green Was My Valley is entwined with intricate emotions, a great account of courage and forbearance,of the first principles of life and a fascinating journey of a Welsh boy through his life stages.

The successful 1941 film of the book had a cast including Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O’Hara, Anna Lee, Roddy McDowall (as Huw), Donald Crisp, and Barry Fitzgerald. None of the leading players were Welsh. Directed by John Ford, How Green Was My Valley is one of the films selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. How Green Was My Valley is available on DVD from 20th Century Fox as part of their 20th Century Fox Studio Classics collection. The book has twice been adapted by the BBC as a serial for television, in 1960 and 1975.

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