Saturday, March 16, 2013

How the Irish saved civilization and other slight exaggerations

Every year millions of Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but they may not be aware of how great an influence St. Patrick was on the subsequent history of civilization. Not only did he bring Christianity to Ireland, he instilled a sense of literacy and learning that would create the conditions that allowed Ireland to become "the isle of saints and scholars" -- and thus preserve Western culture while Europe was being overrun by barbarians.
In this entertaining and compelling narrative, Thomas Cahill tells the story of how Europe evolved from the classical age of Rome to the medieval era. Without Ireland, the transition could not have taken place. Not only did Irish monks and scribes maintain the very record of Western civilization -- copying manuscripts of Greek and Latin writers, both pagan and Christian -- they brought their uniquely Irish world-view to the task.
Cahill conveys this knowledge with a winking wit that aptly captures the sensibility of the unsung Irish who relaunched civilization.
How the Irish saved civilization : the untold story of Ireland's heroic role from the fall of Rome to the rise of medieval Europe/ Thomas Cahill
The story of Ireland : a history of the Irish people / Neil Hegarty Eyewitness to Irish history / Peter Berresford Ellis The great shame : and the triumph of the Irish in the English-speaking world / Thomas Keneally The graves are walking : the great famine and the saga of the Irish people / John Kelly The famine plot : England's role in Ireland's greatest tragedy / Tim Pat Coogan
The road to McCarthy : around the world in search of Ireland / Pete McCarthy The fields of Athenry : a journey through Irish history / James Charles Roy The voice of the Irish : the story of Christian Ireland / Michael Staunton The pint man : a novel / Steve Rushin The best of Irish wit and wisdom / selected and edited by John McCarthy

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