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The History and Topography of Ireland (Penguin Classics) Reprint Edition

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0140444230
ISBN-10: 0140444238
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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Latin

About the Author

Gerald of Wales was born c.1145 in Pembrokeshire. He died in obscurity, possibly in Lincoln in 1223. He wrote seventeen books, all of them in Latin, and was well-connected to the Royal Family of his day.
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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (March 31, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140444238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140444230
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
Have you ever seen a medieval map? People had only the vaguest idea of the world they lived in - and when men such as Gerald of Wales set out to gather information they very often had to rely on what local people told them (as did Herodotus over 1000 years earlier). So of course Gerald's History and Topography of Ireland is going to be riddled with factual errors - if you want to find out about the history and geography of Ireland you should look at modern maps, produced by satellites, and modern histories, written by scholars with hundreds of thousands of documents at their fingertips. Books written in the eleventh century tell you what people thought THEN, in the eleventh century, and are as such fascinating journeys into the early medieval mindset. Myths mingle with facts as the locals tell Gerald about things that matter to them, and really brings home history - in a way that reading of battles and kings doesn't. It tells you about daily lives and what people thought - we are really quite amazingly lucky that books such as these have survived a thousand years to tell us what life was like then.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've always wanted to read this book, being of Irish Ancestry. It's a good translation of Gerald's original manuscript book, and it gives much insight as to how people thought, and what they actually knew of geography, natural history and history of Hibernia (Ireland) in the late 11th century. It was clearly a different world than the one I live in. There are some nice line drawings from the original hand written manuscript copes of this book. The cover art also comes from one of these books. It's a rather quaint travelog, like reading Marco Polo or Herodotus. There's some background info on Gerald at the begining of the book, too.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jay C on August 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
Interesting primary resource for the 12th century. Had to read this for my history class and of all the books that were on the list, I'm glad I chose this one. Some tall tales and funny accounts but not a bad read to have to do a paper on.
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