A recently published book on the First World War - Wales and World War One - by Myddfai author Robin Barlow has been named W H Smith Book of the Month (Wales) for January and also Museums Book of the Month.

This year is the centenary of the outbreak of the War to end all Wars and there are hundreds of books on the history of that momentous event but Robin Barlow’s is the first work devoted solely to the part and role played by Welsh men and women.

The book includes extracts from diaries and letters not previously published and is an unique addition to the extensive catalogue of books on the war.

Huw Bowen, Professor of Modern History at Swansea University stressed the book’s relevance and importance.

“This is a very important book because it is the first in English to consider Wales as whole during the First World War,” said Professor Bowen.

“As such it draws together an immense amount of new material, and its great strength is the depth and detail which allows Robin Barlow to demolish many of the long-standing myths that have shaped our view of Wales and the Great War.”

“The book is rich in fresh insights and readers will be indebted to the author for the many hours he has spent in archives and record offices unearthing the evidence that underpins his analysis.”

“To bring all of that evidence together so effectively represents a very considerable achievement, and I have no doubt that the book will remain as the standard work on the subject for many years to come.”

More than 270.000 Welshmen enlisted for action in France and Belgium, As well as the Middle and Far East, Turkey and Africa. Over 30,000 lost their lives.

The author – a graduate of Swansea University and former headmaster and higher education advisor who has retired to Myddfai - analyses the conditions, atmosphere and happenings on the home front in Wales in response to the war and recounts what happened abroad to the men and women of the Principality.

The book offers a unique insight into the events of 1914 to 1918 to those in Wales whose relations and family played any role in the war - at home or abroad - and even more poignantly to the relatives of those who sacrificed their lives for the cause.

There are numerous points of local reference throughout the book for residents of the Amman and Towy valleys, with photographs of crowds gathered at Llandeilo Station awaiting a troop train, and of a Royal Welsh Fusilier with the regimental goat in Llandeilo prior to the outbreak of war, the temporary grave in Egypt of Alcwyn Evans 24th Battalion Welsh Regiment, a native of Llanarthne and the grave registration of Thomas Lewis, Rhyw Fach, Manordeilo.

Another photo shows German prisoners of war with quarry workers at the Llandybie Limeworks

The book details Wales’s response to the outbreak of war, voluntary recruitment, the foundation and recruitment of the 38th (Welsh) division and the Battle of Mametz Wood, the Gallipoli campaign, and what particularised the Welsh soldier – 22% of whom were miners.

Supported by a vast and impressive array of illustrations and photos which in turn will draw interest from villages and towns from all parts of Wales highlight that there were few parts of the country and few Welshmen unaffected by war.