How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill

Into the Wild

Read How the Irish Saved Civilization Online Free - 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 treasures. 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.

Title : How the Irish Saved Civilization
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0385418493
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 246 pages


John rated it ★☆☆☆☆

March 11, 2008

Mind-numbingly written, building up to a nearly inconsequential conclusion on how Irish monks might have helped preserve some of Europe's classic literature. I'm descended from the Irish and was looking forward to a little nationalist pride, but this failed by underdelivering from its title and b...

Jen rated it ★☆☆☆☆

March 19, 2008

This was awful. Many reviews say things like "charming" and "pleasant," but I thought it was tedious and meandering. Not all history has to be chronological; there's interesting stuff in here but it's too long with details of Roman society. Also, the author writes like a blow-hard, and interjects...

Mark rated it ★★★☆☆

September 15, 2008

Though not exactly news to anyone who went to school in Ireland (Cahill seems to have an Irish-American readership as his target audience, particularly given-away by his repeated and annoying generalizations about the 'Irish Spirit' and such like: what does he mean, Jameson or Bushmills?), this n...

John rated it ★★★★★

May 31, 2017

This is the kind of book where the title really seems to over-commit to an idea and overstate the reality of history. I went into this book thinking that Cahill was surely using hyperbole to say that the Irish saved civilization. He may be, but this is still a remarkable and relevant history. Thi...

Wealhtheow rated it ★★☆☆☆

January 08, 2014

As the Roman Empire crumbled, so too did literacy and libraries suffer. By the seventh century, however, Patrick had converted enough men into being Christians and scribes that many ancient Greek and Roman books were preserved in Ireland, even as the originals crumbled elsewhere. The preservation...

Kathleen rated it ★★★☆☆

December 25, 2014

Cahill may occasionally engage in exaggeration and speculation, but he increased my interest in history. I have read the first four books in the Hinges of History series, starting book 1 almost 20 years ago, so my memory is not bright. However, the books stuck with me fairly well. Kudos to the a...

Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it ★☆☆☆☆

September 29, 2012

I do get why this book on "How the Irish Saved Civilization" was a bestseller. Not only is it the perfect gift for St Patrick's Day, it is entertaining and readable. But I also found it superficial and not reliable. It may be the contrast with some really fine histories and biographies I've read...

David rated it ★★★★★

February 14, 2012

I'm Irish. Don't let my last name (Zimmerman) fool you. I'm the proud son of a guy whose surname unfortunately obscures the fact that my mother (of whom I'm also a proud son) is 100 percent Irish, so assuming my dad has a little Irish in him (who doesn't?) I'm at least 50 percent. Not sure why th...

Susan rated it ★★★★☆

January 02, 2011

I've noticed that history books on Goodreads are often given lower star ratings by people who are upset to find that the author was using information to present a cohesive thesis rather than providing an unbiased account. Although it is right to bring up slant in evaluating the truth of a thesis,...

Kelsea Dawn rated it ★★☆☆☆

March 22, 2014

First, let's get this ridiculous title out of the way: challenging a racist assumption (that the Irish are lazy, wild, etc.) by buying into a broader racist assumption (that western civilization is the ONLY civilization) isn't really all that radical. And it's bad history. And it's a very bad sta...

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