How the Irish Saved Civilization

  • by Thomas Cahill
  • Narrated by Liam Neeson
  • 3 hrs and 4 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

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.

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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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Thomas

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.
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- Edmund

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-22-2001
  • Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio