Ireland is inarguably a beautiful, enchanted place. But its history is more turbulent, fascinating, and terrible than any other. From the first English presence in Ireland in the 12th century, through siege, rebellion, and civil war, to Irish ascendancy, home rule, and the present-day troubles, best-selling author Paul Johnson tells, with remarkable clarity and concision, the compelling story of this most remarkable island.
©1980 Paul Johnson (P)1995 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“A lively, intelligent, sometimes provocative but always stimulating account of Ireland from the 12th century to our own….” (Sunday Telegraph)
Favorites are histories and mysteries. Once avid reader trying to pick up the pace again later in life.
It's written ENTIRELY from the English point of view. Example: In the first 2 hours there are dozens of quotes about Ireland, EVERY ONE of them from an Englishman. There's absolutely no effort made to present situations from an Irish point of view. This book is a rapid-fire recitation of the chronology of events that comprise England's efforts to settle and subjugate Ireland. The too-fast reader gives date after date of what the English tried to do to settle and civilize the wild Irish. There is absolutely nothing about Irish culture or day to day lives. It's just date after date of how the English did their best to come up with an "Irish solution." You learn about this commander or that monarch and the actions they took to advance English interests and domination in Ireland.Oliver Cromwell is portrayed as a noble peace-seeker who never harmed civilians. At one point an English commander is made to seem considerate because "he only executed 52" Irishmen.I can't imagine a more unbalanced or incomplete approach to presenting history. And, the reader at least enunciates well as she rushes to speed-read through this one-sided recitation of English efforts to conquer and control Ireland. I wasted a credit on this book, but it was one of only two books purporting to be histories of Ireland, and the other at 22 hours, was too long for what I was looking for.
A more balanced perspective, not just everything from English eyes. Why were the Irish unhappy? The Irish come across as ignorant, savages and ingrates.
Slow down. Written by a male author and read ultra fast by a female voice, I really got the impression that the male author read the book but they speeded up the play to get through the book quicker making the reader's voice sound faster and higher.
I would have added some Irish perspectives, the impact of British actions on the Irish people, reasons for Irish dissatisfaction. The book seems as disrespectful of the Irish as the English were for centuries, so maybe in that case it serves a purpose -- to remind the Irish of the English attitudes that resulted in their political and social domination by England.
Find another book about Irish history, skip this one.
I came into this book thinking Irish historys would be the same as Scotland -- a celtic people trying to fight off the English. Wrong! Ireland, because it's an island, and because it remained Catholic had a much different, and much worse history.
Many interesting events here. How English invaders who stayed kept going native. How the 1790 rebellion was led by Protestants. How de Tocqueville found poverty in 19th century Ireland worse than anything he had seen in Europe or N America.
Recommend this book to anyone wanting to know where the 'troubles' came from.
Well done history with an amusingly original beginning. I wish it was longer but it covers its subject fairly well.
I'm trying to read/listen to everything written by Paul Johnson. Sometimes, this book included, to a non-English, the references that are hard to follow. What I do enjoy about the book, is the authors analysis and listing of the historic facts.
It seems so old world. It has a history that gives my a need to travel there.
The way it is brought to life
It is hard to choose one. It one was so riviting
What she explained about the struggles they had to overcome change.
"Very badly narrated"
I was looking forward to what I hoped would be a compelling story of the history of Ireland. The book may be factually correct but it is ruined by the narrator seeming to rush through the book as if she couldn't wait to get to the end. It certainly could not hold my attention. To cap it all, Wanda McCaddon evidently had not researched the book beforehand as on several occasions she pronounced some of the towns incorrectly! Reminded me of the worse kind of history lesson ... could have been fascinating but ruined by the delivery.
"An English perspective"
Yes and no
This book, whilst interestingly written, is in essence the history of the English in Ireland. Little or nothing of the "native" Irish appears except insofar as they interact with Normans and English. After the act of union I felt it was a more integrated and satisfactory history. However if you wish a recent history of the "troubles" note that the book ends in the mid 1970's with a heavy concentration on c1964 to 1974.
Couldn't be bothered to find out the pronunciation of irish names and terms. She pronounced the difficult "Gaelic " name Coalisland as Coal-is-land. Risible!
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