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The tone is good, the narration charming, the repetive "This is a short history of Ireland in 240 episodes" every 5 - 15 minutes is highly annoying. The small episodes chop up the content a bit too much for my taste, but I suppose that's a consequence of it being presented via radio.
All of that would take it to a 4 for me, but the distressing part is that the history is mostly about who fought against whom. The oral history of Ireland is covered in the first 5 - 10 minutes; early and pre-conquest Celtic art isn't mentioned at all; the difference in belief, clerical requirements, status of monestaries and abbies, and relationship to the elite families prior to the take-over by the Latin rite is barely mentioned; the impact of Celtic/Gaelic concepts of kinship on the shape of society; the society, culture, and politics of pre-conquest Ireland is hardly mentioned; and, at least through the coverage of Cromwell's activities, there's precious little of even a mention of day-to-day life, even within the elites.
The later part of the presentation may give more attention to culture and society, but the first half (as far as I got) is almost completely battles and massacres.
30 of 31 people found this review helpful
...hearing the phrase, "This is a short history of Ireland in 240 episodes" 240 times will drive most people insane. I made it up to about 40 before giving up. This was doubly frustrating as the content was enjoyable and informative. Surely these "links" could have been expunged before turning a radio series in to an audiobook.
22 of 23 people found this review helpful
This is well worth the time to listen to, it is well narrated, with a touch of artistic licence. My only gripe is; it is 240 episodes, and you are told so 240 times! yes 240 times, why? well it takes approximately 9 seconds to tell you, X 240 = 2160 seconds=36 wasted minutes which is why I did not give it a full and deserved 5 stars.
27 of 27 people found this review helpful
For those like me who did not know much about Ireland's history this is a fascinating and revealing account that works well as an audio book.The five minute episodes are skilfully constructed and almost always contain some striking incidents and memorable characters . Occasionally the sound effects, atmospheric music or foreign accents are overdone, but generally each episode is most enjoyable to hear. The grand set pieces receive good treatment -Cromwell in Ireland, the rebellion of 1798, the great famine, Parnell- but there are also fascinating, less familiar topics: a Spaniard's account of Elizabethan Ireland, details of the Irish linen industry, the first performance of Messiah in Dublin,and many others. Sometimes perhaps colourful detail takes the place of sustained historical analysis but I'm sure that listening to these programmes will lead many to read more about what is a striking and turbulent history, and a story of which both English and Irish people should be aware. It is understandable but still disappointing that the history stops at the Second World War and so does not deal with the more recent past.
20 of 20 people found this review helpful
I always wondered about the Irish "Troubles" so thought this book might explain it to me. I got so much more than I bargained for. A truly informative book. As trump would say.
"Your gunna love it"