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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 (106 )
5 star
 (52)
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2 star
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4.2 (66 )
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4.5 (67 )
5 star
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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 2013
    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.

    8 of 10 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
  •  
    Kindle Customer United States 12-19-14
    Kindle Customer United States 12-19-14 Member Since 2011

    coffeeiv

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Audio Quality So Bad I Can't Listen"
    What disappointed you about How the Irish Saved Civilization?

    I love Liam Neeson; I love Thomas Cahill's writing. But the audio was SO distracting I could not listen past the first 20 minutes. I thought it might improve, but it did not. It sounded as though Neilsen was rocking back and forth, toward the mic and away from it, as if he were stoned or high. I assume that's not the case because the sound engineers would have compensated for that.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of How the Irish Saved Civilization?

    I don't know; I couldn't stand to finish it. I will read the paperback I have tucked away in my bedside table.


    What does Liam Neeson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He's Irish.


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

    I won't know until I READ it so I won't have to abide this horrid audio quality. It's an affront to Neeson and Cahill.


    Any additional comments?

    I am returning this book.

    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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.


    1 of 1 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
  •  
    Reader Book Texas 08-01-15
    Reader Book Texas 08-01-15 Member Since 2007

    paraskevi

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Liam Neesom could make any book sound great!!"

    Io learned a lot about Ireland and its history of knowledgeable leaders. I look forward to visiting this beautiful country. And listening to Liam read about his country is a joy!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    As my Wimsey takes me 03-16-15 Member Since 2008

    Words...words. Words.

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    "Wishing for more..."

    If this were unabridged, I could whole-heartedly give it five stars. Liam Neeson is fantastic!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BackinBlack 03-15-15
    BackinBlack 03-15-15 Member Since 2015
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    "A Wonderful recount of Irish history!"

    The story was well written and recounts the immense impact the Irish had on society. Liam Neeson did a great job on narration. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this and recommend it to those of you who generally enjoy learning about the history of human civilization.

    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

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