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George Ewart Evans is the pre-eminent chronicler of the British countryside; marrying oral history with sympathetic commentary and analysis, over thirty years and in a series of books, he afforded a unique view of a receding world.
Spoken History (1987) is a retrospective of his remarkable achievements. It describes his pioneering methods, as well as the broad cast of characters he has interviewed across the years in seeking out the story of the land. What shines brightly is his love of dialect and his respect for its rich expression – as noble a vehicle for historical truth as more conventional modes. He also argues the case for historians to cast their net more widely, to entertain different voices, different cultures, in a more meaningful survey than documents alone can provide.
The book is testament to a dimming way of life, and to a visionary man who strove to capture our final glimpses of it.
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