Review of ‘Welsh Witches and Wizards’ by Michael Howard

It is with regret that this review is so short, but there is not much to say about this book. Mr Howard is well-respected in British folklore, magical and pagan publishing circles. I admit I was expecting more from this book. It’s mostly just a compilation of other sources. I learned a fair amount, mostly putting my existing knowledge of the history of witchcraft into a Welsh context. The book was enjoyable on one level for me, because many of the places mentioned are within a short driving distance of where I’m living! Many of the names of places were familiar to me. I now have a list of places to see and visit before we leave this fine country. Alas, if the reader doesn’t know Wales well I don’t think this book will have much to offer. It’s mostly history, and nothing all that new if you’re already a student of the history of witchcraft.

The most deeply disappointing aspect of this book is the lack of editing. There are an abundance of typos throughout the book, particularly in the spellings of Welsh names and places. Yes, Welsh looks funny to the English speaker, but Mr Howard supposedly lived in Wales for a time. For example, a name is spelled correctly and then misspelled only two sentences apart. If a non-Welsh speaker and brief Wales resident can notice a host of misspellings and typos, imagine the frustration of a native speaker!

I would recommend this book only for Welsh fanatics. Welsh witches will likely be familiar with everything here. I would recommend it as supplemental travel reading for interested visitors to Wales, but the price is rather prohibitive. Borrow it from a friend or the library.

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