How Green Was My Valley

Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
Length: 16 hrs and 22 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (325 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

How Green Was My Valley is Richard Llewellyn’s best-selling - and timeless - classic, as well as the basis of a beloved film.

As Huw Morgan is about to leave home forever, he reminisces about the golden days of his youth when South Wales still prospered, when coal dust had not yet blackened the valley. Drawn simply and lovingly, with a crisp Welsh humor, Llewellyn’s characters fight, love, laugh, and cry, creating an indelible portrait of a people.

Richard Llewellyn (1906-1983), a Welsh novelist, was born in Hendon, England, in the county of Middlesex. Before World War II, he spent periods working in hotels, wrote a play, worked as a coal miner, and produced his best-known novel, How Green Was My Valley, as well as 19 other novels. After the war, he worked as a journalist, covering the Nuremberg Trials, and then as a screenwriter for MGM.

©1939 1940 by Richard Vivian Llewellyn Lloyd; renewed 1967 by Richard Llewellyn (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“A story of exquisite distinction and vibrant interest; clear and strong as the music under the sky.” ( New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The rhythm of life... the pattern of words...

I loved it! Written in 1939, it is a classic... I've read and listened to it both now. Coal mining family in South Wales seen though the eyes of the youngest son. I loved the speech patterns, the taste of the food, the honor of work, the cultural flavor and the love of a family. I loved the slowly evolving plots and complex characters. You have to be patient with this book, it is not a Dr. Pepper or bar of chocolate book. It is a rich stew, with hearty vegetables, herbs and tender chuncks of beef. There are strikes, mine collapses, young love trysts, long held grudges, fist fights, pride and sorrow... there is a family that grows, swells and forms a spider web from the valley across the world. I will listen again, if just to jot down some of the Welsh sayings I love the most... like the courting couple they called "Kiss and Scratch' for either they were overly affectionate or fighting. Go you then.

19 people found this helpful

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A classic that must be read---could take place now

What a joy it was to read this classic book that was the basis for the 1941 Oscar Award movie by the same title. As with most books, it was ten times better than the movie, which I also very much enjoyed.

This first person narrative of a small Welsh coal mining town from decades ago, could very well be a story in present day America. This tale of the joys, trials, comradeship, faith, family, and community was underpinned with the disputes of workers seeking better salaries. But it was the faith of God and love of family that ran through all the emotions that make up a great story.

I highly recommend this classic to everyone who has yet to read the book. Superior writing also made this book a real treasure for all times!

10 people found this helpful

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A great classic, layered and wonderful

There are certain books that I have read from this era that were so good I felt like I had the opportunity to live in that time for a while, this is one of those books. This is more than an author detailing the life of his family for posterity, it captures the culture, the personalities, and the very detail of everyday life of all the people who lived in that community. This book does more than tell a story, it brings you into the story, you are involved and invested in the many triumphs and struggles that befall the Morgan clan. The story is told in a wonderful fashion as well and is unique as a piece of literature, beautiful in what is told and what is not, the narration is also top tier as well.
This book gets a strong recommendation

5 people found this helpful

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A beautiful and timeless story- very moving

This story of a Welsh coal mining family and the village they live in is lyrically written and beautifully narrated. It is not a fast book, it is a book you listen to carefully, for the sake of the language. It is an old-fashioned book, that allows you to listen to someone remembering a time long gone and a way of life that has disappeared. The Morgan family is loving and loyal and tries hard to stay true to themselves and the ideals they were raised with, even as the world is changing around them and their small village becomes a place that is filled with bitterness and poverty. But if you just listen to the melody of the language and let the story flow, I believe that this book will stay with you and move you more than you may realize at first. I loved reading it years ago and I loved listening to it as well. If you are looking for a slower-paced listen and want to savor the language and writing, give it a try!

5 people found this helpful

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A Classic Well Done

This is a melancholy tale, and at the beginning, the narrator's voice had a flatness that made me fear for the rest of the book - but suddenly the animation was there, and my interest never flagged. This novel is so well written; it shows how extraordinary an ordinary life can be. The fate of the Welsh coal miners is so heartrending, yet the thread of hope is woven through; and, while the characters are their own worst enemies at times, one hopes right along with them even while knowing a sad ending is inevitable. Poignant human drama at its best.

3 people found this helpful

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A Classic is Always Worth Reading Again!

What made the experience of listening to How Green Was My Valley the most enjoyable?

I have loved this book forever it seems, BUT I had never had the pleasure of having it read to me. I cannot brag enough on the quality and presentation of this Audible Book. There is nothing that compares to listening to this beloved classic with the accents and the story of a large Welsh family trying to make a living during the coal mining days that were coming to a close forcing the village to make changes that will separate their family in sad and tragic ways ... but this inspiring tale brings everything good about families and the love that makes them so strong and resilient!!

What did you like best about this story?

The strong message it has about dignity, strength and courage.

What does Ralph Cosham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

What a joy it was to listen to his voice and FINALLY know how to pronounce the names correctly! lol

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, this is one of those books that you want to listen to a few chapters at a time and the rest of the day you can ponder its messages.

Any additional comments?

This is one of those classics you will want to listen to over and over again ...

3 people found this helpful

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A beautiful book and beautifully read.

I read this book when I was much younger, maybe in my mid teens. I thought it was beautiful then and I've thought of it fondly over time. It was my turn to pick a book for my book group and I saw the opportunity to re-read it. I love it as much now as I did then and the reader did a very, very good job. I would recommend it to anybody.

1 person found this helpful

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So glad I read this

Following positive reviews I took a chance on this, and was glad to find what others found, an experience whose simplicity and warmth cast a spell over me, and I was the better for having read it. It's the coming of age story of Huw Morgan amidst the mining valleys in Wales, and nothing about that description would have sold me on it. But the boy has questions about the adult world, sometimes sniffing around the edges of those questions, other times stomping straight into them. An example of the former was when a friend realizes Huw doesn't know how babies come into the world, and sneaks him to a secret place where they observe a woman in labor. An example of the second was young Huw speaking out in church. The questions he asks in the wake of that episode are all the more powerful because they are voiced from the perspective of a child untainted (or not yet entrenched) by tradition and politics. In both these scenes, the reaction from the adult world is remarkable (and is why this author is worth reading). If you yourself have ever formulated questions and have wondered why society squelches those questions, these scenes will give you hope.

The scenes are memorable, as is the Welsh dialect and cadence delivered by the author and narrator. For the first half hour or so, I didn't love the narrator, but in time I got it, trusting and needing him to tell the tale in that tone and dialect. I looked forward to that voice at the beginning of each chapter. I looked forward to that language, that world, that delivery.

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Hssst Boy

This was a great story. A terrific mixture of humor, tragedy and philosophy. Bronwyn and Beth were the characters I enjoyed the most, they were the brave voices of reason of the novel. I will have to watch the movie and see how it compares!

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bookgirl

wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. brilliant words. terrific narrator. the words are poetry. a gift is this book.