How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe

How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe By Thomas Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization The Untold Story of Ireland s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe 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 Christia
  • Title: How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe
  • Author: Thomas Cahill
  • ISBN: 9780385418485
  • Page: 325
  • Format: Hardcover
  • How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe By Thomas Cahill, 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 thusEvery 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, while libraries and learning on the continent were forever lost they brought their uniquely Irish world view to the task.As Cahill delightfully illustrates, so much of the liveliness we associate with medieval culture has its roots in Ireland When the seeds of culture were replanted on the European continent, it was from Ireland that they were germinated.In the tradition of Barbara Tuchman s A Distant Mirror, How The Irish Saved Civilization reconstructs an era that few know about but which is central to understanding our past and our cultural heritage But it conveys its knowledge with a winking wit that aptly captures the sensibility of the unsung Irish who relaunched civilization.Paperback New Arrives sealed, ready to gift or add to home library Fulfilled by Prime Shipping eligible.
    How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe By Thomas Cahill,
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    About "Thomas Cahill"

    1. Thomas Cahill

      Born in New York City to Irish American parents and raised in Queens and the Bronx, Cahill was educated by Jesuits and studied ancient Greek and Latin He continued his study of Greek and Latin literature, as well as medieval philosophy, scripture and theology, at Fordham University, where he completed a B.A in classical literature and philosophy in 1964, and a pontifical degree in philosophy in 1965 He went on to complete his M.F.A in film and dramatic literature at Columbia University in 1968.In anticipation of writing The Gifts of the Jews, Cahill studied scripture at Union Theological Seminary in New York, and spent two years as a Visiting Scholar at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he studied Hebrew and the Hebrew Bible He also reads French and Italian In 1999, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Alfred University in New York.Cahill has taught at Queens College, Fordham University, and Seton Hall University, served as the North American education correspondent for the Times of London, and was for many years a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times Book Review Prior to retiring to write full time, he was the Director of Religious Publishing at Doubleday for six years He and his wife, Susan, also an author, divide their time between New York and Rome.

    598 thoughts on “How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe”

    1. 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 being nearly unreadable from the first chapter It hurts even worse to hear that the claims may have been false.


    2. 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 things like Alas and Dear Reader and It is up to the reader to decide That kind of stuff irritates me to no end.Searching for info online, I found references that refute much of what the author posits, includin [...]


    3. 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 nevertheless has lots of good stuff in it and the overall argument is strong.I particularly liked the early material contrasting the moribund writing of Roman Gallic poet Ausonias with St Augustine, and the ph [...]


    4. 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 This is a great, great book that deserves the wide readership it has received.The book begins with a retelling of the fall of Rome Cahill does this to show the peril in which Western Civilization was steeped w [...]


    5. 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 of ancient texts is a fascinating theme upon which to relate a history, but alas, the majority of the book concerns how awesome Plato is Seriously, there is a three page quote from Plato, followed by a go [...]


    6. 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 author for that Since then, Cahill wrote two books, but I have not read them This is quasi history told in a fairly accessible narrative style if at times meandering Cahill is not a historian, per se, but hi [...]


    7. 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 that s so important to me, but it is There s a mystique to Irishness that simply isn t there with other countries of distant origins Ireland is ever green, it s charmed and charming, thick with thin space So you wou [...]


    8. 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 lately, but several things in this book made it suspect to me Cahill isn t a historian The short biography at the end says only that he has a MFA in Film and Dramatic Literature and that he has studied theolo [...]


    9. I ve noticed that history books on 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, it s somewhat sad to see these complaints for Cahill s defense of pre Joycean Irish civilization when one of Cahill s major arguments is that biased English historians prevented any appreciation of Irish civilizat [...]


    10. 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 start to a rather mediocre book It s not that I didn t enjoy anything in this book Cahill meandered to places I found quite enjoyable a good history book should meander a bit, the side trails of history are where y [...]


    11. The title may be a slight exaggeration, but it s a good read for students of western history Lots of good Middle Ages as well as the expected Irish background.Multiple readings pull out a wealth of details and insights.


    12. In college I took a class entitled Christianity in History It turned out to be merely a church history class.This book is everything I wished that course had been, but wasn t It does an amazing job in pointing out how Christians have impacted history, summed up best in it s final sentence If our civilization is to be saved forget about our civilization, which, as Patrick would say, may pass in a moment like a cloud or smoke that is scattered by the wind if we are to be saved, it will not be by R [...]


    13. Here Cahill provides a popular level history of the early middle ages with mixed success His greatest asset is a suprisingly strong prose style, which allows him to effortlessly, and even peotically, lead his readers through a complicated and fuzzy period of history No doubt this is the reason the book was a bestseller But it also proves to be his downfall in that his efortless sentences ellide the complexity of his subject matter Perhaps this is the fate of all popularizers, but I found myself [...]


    14. It seems to me that the basic thesis of this book is absurd The Irish didnt save civilization a few scholarly monks set to work on preserving the classics, all very noble, but meanwhile the rest of the Irish were cavorting around not being like fucking Romans or Greeks and living a different kind of anti state and somewhat anti authoritarian civilization This from Celtic Ireland 650 1650 In Celtic Irish society of the Middle Ages and Early Modern period, courts and the law were largely anarchist [...]


    15. The Dark Ages Now, whoever was the idiot who coined that term did not know history.This book again sets the record straight that the Medieval Period was a time of cultural and technological stagnation It was actually during the Medieval Period when the seeds of many cultural and intellectual advancements were sown.If you enjoy reading books, then you have the Medieval Church men and women, like the Irish, who laboriously and lovingly copied the Scriptures and other classics that the world still [...]


    16. An entertaining little history of Irish scholarship, culture, and monk saint heroes of antiquity who greatly respected early learning, writing etc This very much has a catholic bias but still well written and worth reading if you are interested in Irish history.


    17. In 406 A.D the Rhine River froze solid and the barbarians crossed this temporary bridge to strike one of the final blows to a lazy, corrupt, and aging empire When Alaric, king of the Visigoths, showed up at Rome s gates in 410 A.D the citizens still didn t know the end was at hand Unable to defend themselves it was a lot of effort after all they negotiated a sack to spare the city from bloodshed So they kept their lives, most of them But sooner or later they or their progeny lost almost everythi [...]


    18. I recently wrote somewhere that Cahill is a great writer of popular history I didn t really qualify that remark Cahill doesn t write popular history, he writes about history in a way that the most readers possible, could enjoy How the Irish Saved Civilization is a perfect example of this His premise is fairly simple while the Roman world is collapsing and being taken over by barbarians across the continent, Irish monks, beginning with Saint Patrick, create a new civilization of religion and lear [...]


    19. This is a good and interesting book and although I think it s a 3.5 than a straight 4 , I m willing to grade it generously.The author has clearly done a good job on his research and analysis His writing style is clear and clean popular than scholarly almost too much so for my tastes But this is a book written for a widespread and casual audience, so his tone and phrasing is understandably directed to that level.I, having learned my Greco Roman history and six years of Latin, was fairly familia [...]


    20. Highly readable, although not likely to convince anyone who s not pretty much in sympathy with him going in, but I doubt Cahill cares He s interested in sharing his observations than in beating you over the head with a foot note larded argument Do check the notes in the back if you want to know how solid his history is he s clearer there than in the text about whether he s presenting generally agreed on concepts or his personal theories, and also offers references.



    21. Review Title When in Ireland,As I have gotten the chance in the last year to see some of the fabulous treasures of Christianity in the British Museum and Library, the Bodleian Library in Oxford, and Dublin s Trinity College, and see some of the ruins of 6th to 10th Century England and Ireland, I have often referred to Cahill s only partially tongue in cheek title I had read the book several years ago before I had started listing and then writing down what I thought about the books I read, which [...]


    22. The dramatic title of this book is a bit tongue in cheek is it not Cahill s attempt at Irish exaggeration and humour is maybe lost on some erstwhile reviewers Having said that, you do get the sense that Cahill is at least half serious and would like to be taken that way.Published in the midst of the Celtic Tiger nineties, Cahill points out in his introduction that he is attempting an untold history of transition , rather than stasis, meaning that most histories describe one period then another, [...]


    23. The titular question of Thomas Cahill s first Hinges of History book is one that gets people interested in picking it up Yet the length of How the Irish Saved Civilization brings into question on if Cahill adequately answers his own question with such a slender book that promoted becoming a bestseller.Cahill s focus is on the end of the Western Roman Empire and how the literary tradition, in fact literacy itself survived the end of the Roman era and begin in the new Germanic aftermath of the fal [...]


    24. I reached my goal I read and finished this book in the month of March.So ooooooooooooooooo glad Way too many details for me to remember, recall, and reuse However, I don t blame the author, ha I did read everything from front to back and then went backwards to front again Love the pronunciation guide for Irish names Appreciate the chronology outline in the appendix Read the unique chapter by chapter explanatory bibliography The world has some fantastically dedicated scholars who just love to res [...]


    25. How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill is part of a series he wrote called The Hinges of History Those hinges, as he writes in the book, are parts of history often overlooked They are usually complex than they seem and Cahill has decided to reexamine those parts of history with an emphasis on key figures in those time periods who made valuable contributions to history If you are normally wary of reading history books because they are too long, too dry and too full of dates and names, [...]


    26. If you re curious about the life of St Patrick, this book contains an excellent account Some books have titles so awesome that the text can t possibly live up to it Here is a book whose title does just that Whether How the Irish Saved Civilization lives up to its self imposed challenge is up to the reader Lovers of all things Irish will buy it and be filled with pride Skeptical historians will find errors and omissions to criticize and debunk it During Europe s Middle Ages most of the great text [...]


    27. Another audio book that was so chok full of info that I ve ordered a hard copy from SO much history of the Irish that I never knew Every good Irish person should have this on their books shelves for reference Would really recommend getting a hard copy thoughlots of Latin quotes and poetry that really need to be visually studied Memorable quote To be Irish is to know that in the end the world will brak your heart Patrick Moynihan on the death of JFK.




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