How the Irish Saved Civilization

Thomas Cahill, Author Anchor Books $29.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-385-41848-5
With the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, Ireland, according to the author, ``had one moment of unblemished glory''-when Irish monks copied almost all of Western classical poetry, history, oratory, philosophy and commentary. But this book is more than the story of monks preserving manuscripts; it is an irreverent look back at how Ireland came to be. Celts who had traversed Europe, Irish warriors and their women were primitive and blatantly sexual. Next came a taming of the land with the help of St. Patrick, who hated slavery and loved scholarship. Patrick was followed by St. Columcille, a great lover of books who became embroiled in a war and, as penance, exiled himself to the island of Iona, off Scotland. It was here that Ireland became ``Europe's publisher,'' as other warrior-monks followed Columcille's example and began to colonize barbarized Europe. They put Ireland in the vanguard of intellectual leadership, a position the Irish would not surrender until the Viking invasion of the 11th century. Cahill (A Literary Guide to Ireland) has written a scholarly, yet cheeky, book that will have strong appeal to Celtophiles. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/13/1995
Release date: 02/01/1995
Genre: Nonfiction
Analog Audio Cassette - 180 pages - 978-0-553-47809-9
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-385-41849-2
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-340-63787-6
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-307-75513-1
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-307-87764-2
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Analog Audio Cassette - 6 pages - 978-0-553-50240-4
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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