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Joseph

Gainesville, VA, United States

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  • Ireland: A Concise History from the Twelfth Century to the Present Day

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Paul Johnson
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (14)

    No one will gainsay that Ireland is a beautiful, enchanted place. But Ireland has a history more varied, turbulent, fascinating, and terrible than any other. From the first English presence in Ireland in the twelfth century, through siege, rebellion, and civil war, to Irish Ascendancy, Home Rule and the present-day Troubles, bestselling author Paul Johnson tells, with remarkable clarity and concision, the compelling story of this most remarkable island.

    Brian says: "Typical Paul Johnson"
    "A great survey course on Ireland"
    Overall

    For those like me who want a single volume that will do justice to the tragic story of Ireland's political strife, this book fills the bill nicely. It chugs along on the express rail, which at times left me wanting some additional detail about personalities, scene-setting and longer literary references. But to keep on his schedule through 800 years of trouble between Ireland, England, Catholics, Protestants, Nationalists, Provos and the dreaded Black & Tans, Paul Johnson does not dwell too long in any one spot.

    Johnson is a master historian, with a gift for cutting through to the essence of a situation and describing it with vivid, concise language.

    Some reviewers accused the author of bias toward the British point of view, which I did not find. The reader is left wondering why it had to be this way for so long, and blaming the neglectful English for constantly leaving things undone and wrongs unrighted to the point they became festering, lingering resentments. There is no glory for Britain here. Nor is there for the Nazi-sympathizing Irish Republicans, the bigoted Unionists, or the opportunistic "Provisionals" who deliberately tried to kill Catholics in Ulster in order to inflame the situation they claimed to be trying to correct.

    That's part of the story, too. No one gets out of this without shame and a blotted reputation. And very few of the country's leading political figures from the 20s-40s managed to die peacefully in their own beds.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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