How Black Was My Valley is a people’s history of the former mining communities of South Wales.
Weaving together the personal with the political, it offers a damning depiction of the hardship and suffering, the tragedy and pain, as a politically abandoned people went from powering the British Empire and the Great Wars, to a broken post-industrial community, lost in time.
It travels with devastating and yet humane insight across the dark shadows of the valley’s history. In doing so, it deals with disaster and resistance; memory and landscapes of despair; the brutal past and the neglected present; hardship and poverty; unemployment and isolation; lack of opportunity and the normalisation of hopelessness; death and suffering; structural violence and everyday subjugation; onto the crises of white male subjectivity and the exponential rise in drug abuse and personal suicide, whose troubling effects can no longer be easily contained within its mountainous walls.
This is not a story of resilience. Instead, readers are taken on a journey into an open wound, whose once silent screams can no longer be ignored.