A bald summary can hardly do justice to the wide-ranging debates with which Colin Kidd is concerned in this book and whose complexities he unravels with skill and sympathy. What he does not always do (and this is my one criticism of his method) is to tell us enough about the scholars and publicists who contributed to these discussions. Many are unfamiliar figures, yet they flit across his pages as little more than names. A case in point is the 'antiquary' Richard Verstegan, 'a founding father of the English Gothicist tradition' (p.194) and author of the much-reprinted tract, A restitution of decayed intelligence in antiquities concerning the most noble and renowned English nation (1605). Only after this work has been cited four or five times do we learn that Verstegan was of Anglo-Dutch parentage; and his militant Catholicism is barely hinted at. We are not told that when he published A restitution, he had been living for twenty years in the Spanish Netherlands city of Antwerp, where he played a key role in the production and dissemination of Counter- Reformation propaganda and was paid a pension by the Habsburg authorities. Yet such information is surely relevant to assessing Verstegan's historical work, particularly his theory linking the English with their Spanish, Italian and French cousins as fellow offspring of a common German stock. Here, and throughout the volume, Dr Kidd shows his talent for putting new life into old historical arguments. But old historians need to be brought to life too. A modest injection of biography in appropriate places would have helped to make this already accomplished study still more persuasive. HUGH DUNTHORNE Swansea THE Welsh LANGUAGE AND THE 1891 CENSUS. Edited by Gwenfair Parry and Mari A. Williams [A Social History of the Welsh Language]. University of Wales Press, Cardiff, 1999. Pp. xiii, 488; 11 maps and figures. £ 15.99. Welsh edition: Miltwn o GYMRY CYMRAEG! YR Iaith GYMRAEG A CHYFRIFIAD 1891 [Hanes Cymdeithasol yr laith Gymraeg]. Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru, Caerdydd, 1999. Tt. xiv, 476; 11 o fapiau a ffigurau. £ 15.99. The Welsh language has been a major subject of debate among those who have been concerned about the historical characteristics of Welsh national identity. To what extent are language and its attendant culture essential to nationhood? Does a nation cease to be if the vernacular is abandoned in favour of a domin- ant (and imperialistic) language? This was certainly the view of J. Saunders Lewis, the prime initiator of modem political Welsh nationalism from the