Hope and Heartbreak is the first in a two-volume social history of modern Wales which will revise 'general' histories of Wales through an engagement with the particularity of everyday life. Hope and Heartbreak is a bold new interpretation of Welsh social history at the opening of the nineteenth century. Russell Davies ranges far and wide, from landlords to peasants rich and poor, in the north and the south. Diet and housing, disease and death, rural festivals, prisons, work houses, mental hospitals, work and worries, fear and anger, love and lust, wizards and wonders, bastards and ballads are only a few of the topics covered in this all encompassing social history. Using the life experiences of individuals Hope and Heartbreak opens up a hidden world of the people who lived in Wales in the period 1789-1870 and offers a radically different portrait of the lives of the Welsh.
Russell Davies is an administrator at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, where he also works as a part-time lecturer in the Department of History and Welsh History. He has also scripted numerous television programmes.