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How the Irish Saved Civilization | [Thomas Cahill]

How the Irish Saved Civilization

Thanks to Thomas Cahill, the pivotal era called the "dark ages" is brought back to vibrant life, its personages portrayed in all their seemingly contemporary humanity, its issues simply and compellingly spelled out. How the Irish Saved Civilization will change forever the way we look at our past, and ourselves. Read by critically-acclaimed actor Liam Neeson.
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Publisher's Summary

From the fall of Rome to the rise of Charlemagne - the "dark ages" - learning, scholarship, and culture disappeared from the European continent. The great heritage of Western civilization - from the Greek and Roman classics to Jewish and Christian works - would have been utterly lost were it not for the holy men and women of unconquered Ireland.

In this delightful and illuminating look into a crucial but little-known "hinge" of history, Thomas Cahill takes us to the "island of saints and scholars," the Ireland of St. Patrick and the Book of Kells. Here, far from the barbarian despoliation of the continent, monks and scribes laboriously, lovingly, even playfully preserved the West's written treasury. With the return of stability in Europe, these Irish scholars were instrumental in spreading learning. Thus the Irish not only were conservators of civilization, but became shapers of the medieval mind, putting their unique stamp on Western culture.

Thanks to Thomas Cahill, this pivotal era is brought back to vibrant life, its personages portrayed in all their seemingly contemporary humanity, its issues simply and compellingly spelled out. How the Irish Saved Civilization will change forever the way we look at our past, and ourselves.

©1997 Thomas Cahill; (P)1997 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, a Division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Liam Neeson's rich, smooth voice delineates each element of political, religious, and cultural alliance." (AudioFile)
"Cahill's lovely prose breathes life into a 1,600-year-old history." (The Los Angeles Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (79 )
5 star
 (40)
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3 star
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Overall
4.1 (39 )
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Story
4.4 (40 )
5 star
 (26)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Thomas Omaha, NE, USA 03-23-04
    Thomas Omaha, NE, USA 03-23-04 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Exceptional Audiobook"

    I have about 500 audio books. I count this one in my top 5. Liam Neeson's reading is brilliant and poetic. For anyone interested in history this book is an absolute must have.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edmund amherst, MA, USA 12-02-05
    Edmund amherst, MA, USA 12-02-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Liam does a great job, so does Cahill."

    I found this book interesting as a History major with a focus on the middle ages. We really don't learn much about the Irish, just that St. Pat was there, and they converted to Christianity. There was much more then that. Cahill goes into depth about Irish literature, Christianity, and Culture during the Middle Ages. I found interesting ideas about Irish history in this book. On top of all that it's "performed" brilliantly by Liam Neilson, breathing life into the poetry and literary excerpts in the book. It's definatly a 3 hour treat worth listening to.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Y. Chapman San Diego, CA 07-02-12
    Peter Y. Chapman San Diego, CA 07-02-12 Member Since 2012

    pychap

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    "Fantastic"

    I read the book when it first came out, so to listen to it, with Liam Neeson narrating was the crowning touch to a masterpiece.

    This is one of those books that needs to be assigned to every student in Western civilization to read. It also demonstrates how Christianity tamed the savage tribes that made up Europe at the time.

    A very enjoyable narrative and completely brought to life by Liam Neeson's reading. Thank you! All's needed now is for Audible to offer higher quality sound files - it sounded a bit like you were listening through a long tin can. But I can say that to all the books I've listened to through Audible so far.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Georgia Rollinsville, CO, USA 06-30-10
    Georgia Rollinsville, CO, USA 06-30-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Five Stars is not Enough"

    The writing is scholarly, clear, and elegant, opening a view of the Irish both fresh and surprising. Cahill paints an illuminating canvas of the collapse of the Pax Romana, clearing up some of the dark historical period which followed. Liam Neeson's reading is excellent, his smooth resonant voice lending clarity and understanding to the text. Wish it had been unabridged, for now I will have to order that version.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimmie Mc Orlando, FL 11-08-13
    Kimmie Mc Orlando, FL 11-08-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Great story...too bad you couldn't hear it clearly"
    What disappointed you about How the Irish Saved Civilization?

    I love the book, love the history, love the story, and of course, love the narrator (Liam Neeson)... but the audio quality of the recording was so horrible!!! Very difficult to understand, especially when played over my car's speakers through the AUX. Other audible selections have no problems whatsoever with that. But this one was ghastly. I spent so much time trying to make the audio understandable, I missed half the telling of it. What a shame. :-(


    Would you be willing to try another one of Liam Neeson’s performances?

    YES! But ONLY on a better quality recording!!!


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Frustration... that I could not hear it clearly.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scotty Florida 08-06-06
    Scotty Florida 08-06-06 Listener Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not what I was expecting"

    Well, this was not what what I was expecting. I wanted a historical review - what I got was lots of flowerey prose and poetry. Frankly I was bored and found this tedious. The subject matter has great potential, but I'm not a fan of this style.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Homebush South, NSW, Australia 01-29-10
    Chris Homebush South, NSW, Australia 01-29-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "How the Irish Saved Civilisation"

    This is a history book like no other. A rare and unique delight. Liam Neeson's reading is its equal.
    Aye yae yae! Just magic. Yes 550 stars.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ben Cambridge, MA, USA 11-28-03
    Ben Cambridge, MA, USA 11-28-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Shallow and poorly written"

    There is a great story in this, but Cahill doesn't manage to tell it; this book is superficial and convoluted. Cahill has taken real accomplishments and some very dramatic history and trivialized it--don't waste your time.

    6 of 19 people found this review helpful
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