I enjoyed the book.
I wanted more.
There was much I didn't know and hadn't run into in other sources.
I'd recommend it.
A rollicking trip through history, exploring the origins and underpinnings of Western philosophy and thought, and the circumstances that led to Ireland being in a unique time, place, and position to play it's special role. Interesting, well written and paced, very entertaining history!
This is not so much a history book, but is more a philosphy and literary history from the end of the Roman Empire through about the 9th and 10th century. More than half the book is spent describing the fall of the Roman Empire and how the last few educated Romans deal with their education and historical literature.
I could not listen to this book, the narration is horrible. Note to author, make sure you hire a narrator who can speak clearly.
This is a vehicle for Cahill's narrowly focussed idea - and a slow vehicle at that. Don't listen to this and expect to learn much about Ireland, its people, or its history.
This book is extremely enthusiastic about its topic and does a brilliant job in tracing the great influence that Irish peoples had on medieval Europe and thereby all of civilization. It starts with a long discussion of the collapse of the Roman Empire, then moves to St. Patrick’s conversion of Ireland. There are many comparisons made between St. Patrick & St. Augustine. It draws out the great differences between the 2 both in idealology &* methodology – these differences greatly impacting the traditions that followed each.
The book also delves into the history of the Celts and their crazy pagan ways. Finally, the second half draws out the main theme. It deals with the way Ireland so quickly became Christianized & literate. Then Irish monks snatched up books from all over Europe whenever the rest of Europe was hitting its lowest point of chaos brought on by the constant Barbarian invasions. Irish monks saved many of our now most precious Latin and Greek ancient texts, recopied them and preserved them. Later, Irish monks re-Christianized much of Britain and continental Europe after much of these peoples had lost touch with civilization.
The book is a great intro into the vast impact Ireland had on civilization. The author inserted his own opinions into the book. This was enjoyable & insightful - particularly when he drew out how Irish Catholicism was less unified & more lax on the rules (like the role of women in church leadership). On the other hand, I did not enjoy the fact that the author wrote about Christianity as if it was a tool by which mankind improved itself, but that Christianity in itself is not true any other than any other religion. The author clearly does not believe in any hint of real miracles or real mythology.
The content was really very interesting but the pace was so sloooow. A good book to read at bedtime as it will help you fall asleep - not so good for me as I listen to all my books in the car.
The guy recites so many poems and so much latin that you forget what he is talking about. Four hours in, I haven't heard that much about Ireland.