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Sons of the Ermine.

Jean Pierre le Mat. An Clochan, 36 Fruithill Park, Belfast, Ulster BT11 8GE. ISBN 1-900286-01-7. 3.50

THERE HAVE BEEN FEW if any, English language histories of the Breton nation. Peter Berresford Ellis gave a brief sketch in The Celtic Revolution and his more recent book The Celtic Dawn but these works were pan-Celtic in scope. I knew that Breizh (Britanny) was one of the British family of nations that had become a part of the French state and that the French Revolution of 1789 was never too welcome there. I knew a few details about the growth of cultural and political Breton nationalism in the last hundred years or so but little else. Britanny, although a kindred country, was one of which I knew little.

This large pamphlet fills in the gaps in my knowledge. I learned how the Amorican peninsula held out against the Romans and of the strong links with Cornwall to the north. The Cornish-Breton relations reminded me of the similar links between Ulster and Scotland. I learned about the wealth of Britanny in the middle ages, and of its steady decline in the face of encroachments from its more powerful southern neighbour. Eventually the French Crown assumed full sovereignty over Britanny.

This book gives us tales of intrigue and treachery, heroism and dedication. At only f3.95 it is a real bargain. Ulster-nationalists should realise that there are other nations trapped within the centralised states of Europe. In the last decade, several of these in eastern and central Europe have broken free. Those in the west - Britanny, Flanders and Scotland to name a few - are still awaiting their day.

David Kerr

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