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.
“A lively, intelligent, sometimes provocative but always stimulating account of Ireland from the 12th century to our own….” (Sunday Telegraph)
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Helpful as an overview
- R. Smith
A British history of the "Irish problem"
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.