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How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from


During the Dark Ages, learning, scholarship, and culture disappeared from the European continent. The great heritage of Western civilization would ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from

Overall customer rating: 4.858

Not scholarly reading, but fun

by Jamaican on Jun 10, 2010

I have read several of Thomas Cahill's "hinges of history" series and found this to be perhaps the best. Cahill's love of the Irish people and character is evident. This book is a joy filled romp from the fall of the Roman Empire to the rocky coast of Ireland, studded with small monastic communities who together "saved" the civilization of the western world. Definitely not a scholarly treatise, but a fun and engaging book. Cahill writes with the voice of a storyteller. Scholars would do well to excavate his sources - for the rest of us, enjoy the tale.


Written for the Irish

by Judy on Jun 4, 2010

This book is so difficult to lay down! I started it early on Saint Pat's Day. Nearly couldn't put it down for the party that night! I learned a lot about my heritage, and was reminded of other things I had forgotten. The Irish has such rich stories!


Should be required reading!

by Gedew on May 17, 2009

As someone famous used to say "and that is the rest of the story"! Well, this book is certainly all you wondered about in ancient Irish History but were too shy to ask! I found it informative, entertaining, and in some ways shocking! (Think "why don't you ever hear about these things?) I recommend it, highly!


Wonderful read

by Bostonmama on Jan 18, 2009

One of the best of Thomas Cahill's Hinges of History series, I actually just bought this book for a friend. Detailing the role of the Irish monks in preserving the works of the ancient world, it is a well researched, thoroughly readable book. I highly recommend it and all the others in the series. Can't wait for the next one


Full of Wit and Song

by MadamBookNerd on Aug 20, 2007

As the descendent of an Irish lad born and immediately orphaned in the workhouse of Macroom, I may be hopelessly biased in my adulation of this book. "How the Irish Saved Civilization," is brilliant historical synthesis, wholly accessible to any armchair student of history. More than a read, it is a literary romp. Mr. Cahill has written an examination of Irish history and culture that everyone with Irish leanings should read. My grandfather, the same lad born to such unfortunate circumstance, though penniless was never poor and always full of wit and song. He also bore uncanny resemblence to the mythic characters portrayed in this book. My grandfather's truest gift was passed to me when he took aside his grandchildren at an impressionable age and revealed the family's heritage as "Descendants of the First Kings of Ireland." (For those not born Irish, this is the exact heritage of everyone Irish) This "secret" lore conveyed an abiding sense of worth that made the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune both endurable and humorous. Such is Irish heritage and such is the resonant message of this book. For anyone seeking insightful, colorful historical summation this book is an infallible selection. Cautionary warnings about its summary nature are lost on lovers of history, myth and all things Irish. My admiration for Thomas Cahill knows no bounds. The positivity he brings to the "Hinges of History" series clearly derives from a masterful grasp of subject. "How the Irish . . ." is the best in of his series, containing all the dazzle of a love born labor. Books like this remind us what the sung (and unsung) intersections of civilization have brought and why it is important to recall them. The "Hinges of History" is a great tool in the box of remembrance.

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