How the Irish Saved Civilization

Customer Reviews

583 Ratings

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5 out of 5 stars
By P on 08-15-04

Fascinating book

Yes, the opening chapter or two is on the Roman world, and it's slow. Once you get past that (feel free to skip ahead), it's absolutely fascinating. He gives fascinating information on Ireland, Patrick, the monks who copied all the old books, Irish art, and the unique Irish perspective on life.

Worth every penny - once you get past the Roman intro. He does that to give a foundation, but the first time you listen to it, just skip it. Go back later and listen to it.

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20 of 20 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Marci on 06-26-06

Not titled

Very well read. You have to get used to the parts where he alters his voice to emphasize characters speaking, but then again, after a few hours even that turns out to be kind of humerous at times and quite enjoyable.

This is not a Fodor's guide to Ireland or even a day by day history of Ireland, it's an account of how the Irish monks saved history in written form (among other things.) While the world was burning all the books it could the Irish monastic leaders were collecting all the works of their neighboring world and translating (even transcribing) them for study and posterity. A society that was once nearly illiterate SAVED scores of written works! (Are you not with me here?) The stories of the Romans, Greeks and barbarians are necessary to understand just how (and why) the Irish managed to save the written texts and thus the history of a great deal of what is now Europe. Forget the negative reviews, for they are from people that wanted a history of Ireland and ordered the wrong book.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Alexander on 02-07-06

A rambling but fun listen

Not just the Irish - the entire medieval history is fair game for this meandering but intelligent and fun author. I listened to it at a faster speed to save time.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Karen on 05-03-03

Ponderous history

This is a quick review - interesting content...dreadful delivery. The narration was either very uneven or SOOOO SLOW and PONDEROUS that I quickly drifted off. Buy the book instead, unless you need a sleeping aid (for which I use this recording).

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15 of 16 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Joe on 05-28-12

History made interesting

From my early school days this part of our history I always found drab and boring. The time of the Tuatha De Danan, St Patrick and the Celts were more about rocks and stones than people, but this book makes a difference. It is filled with fascinating characters, gives an intriguing background to stories such as the Táin Bó Chulainn etc. Donal Donnelly reads it well but sometimes lapses into stage Irish when quoting. Overall a rich and rewarding listen. Highly recommended.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Lacy on 07-11-06

Would be 5 stars except for the reader

The reader is awful. Listening to the man try to pronounce Latin, or anything that requires an accent, is torturous. His pace is excrutiatingly slow. The content was fascinating but the guy who read it was horrible and took a lot of enjoyment out of this audiobook for me.

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10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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