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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.
18 of 18 people found this review helpful
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.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
What a shame that this wonderful, fascinating and sometimes moving book was spoiled by the unfortunate timbre and style of the voice of the narrator. The narrative and the stories which make it up, is so strong, that the damaging effect of the narrator's voice was subdued, thank goodness. With a less weary and strained-sounding narration the book would be of a five-star-plus quality, without question.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
this book should have been edited down. Disliked the narration. The main thesis of the book was not explored enough
2 of 3 people found this review helpful