Malachy McCourt, Author . Running Press $19.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-7624-1965-4

McCourt (A Monk Swimming ) breaks down Ireland's history into 16 sections and, through biographical vignettes, uses famous Irish men and woman to define each epoch. For example, he explores ancient Ireland by profiling the three most prominent Irish saints: Patrick, Brigid and Columcille. Each brief, colloquial sketch provides not only historical background but also colorful conjectures. Moving through history, readers encounter Brian Ború, the Irish king credited with expelling the Vikings and unifying Ireland; Strongbow, who led the Norman invasion of Ireland; and Hugh O'Neill, who battled Elizabeth for Irish freedom before succumbing in the Battle of Kinsale in 1601. Modern Ireland is represented by the likes of Theobald Wolfe Tone, a member of the (Presbyterian) United Irishmen, who led the unsuccessful revolution of 1798; and Daniel O'Connell, the Liberator, who brought religious freedom to Ireland's Catholics. Of course, modern revolutionary Ireland is represented by Michael Collins and Eamon De Valera, and there are also looks at writers W.B. Yeats and Samuel Beckett. McCourt takes us up to the present with portraits of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and rock star Bono. Interesting for the neophyte, this volume will be old news for the veteran reader of Irish history. Agent, Laurie Liss at Sterling Lord Literistic . (Oct.)

Forecast: A $25,000 marketing campaign will include a 10-city author tour, 30-city radio satellite tour and a 50,000-copy first printing.

Reviewed on: 10/04/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Paperback - 413 pages - 978-0-7624-3181-6
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!