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Ireland: A History Hardcover – July 5, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Irish historian Bartlett doesn't dwell on fine details of battles, abuses, and catastrophes, but rather their effects on the anxious relations between English and Irish. In fact, in approaching this book, it's best if you have some background knowledge of the island. The English may have invaded Ireland in 1169 but they never truly conquered her. For 600 years Catholic, Protestant, and Scots Presbyterian worked together in their Sisyphean struggle to establish the rights of the Irish people. Attempts to sever the English yoke, violent and otherwise, were sporadic and poorly organized. The 1798 rebellion was the final straw for the English who, in 1800, passed the Act of Union, abolishing the already powerless Irish Parliament. The disestablishment of the Church of Ireland and elimination of its tithes in 1869 cemented the eternal enmity between Catholics and Protestants. To the now-unified Protestants, the cry of Home Rule paved a path to Catholic majority power. The partition of Ireland in 1919 took the struggle into its most desperate phase, with political, social, religious, and economic turmoil burdening the country throughout the 20th century. Even now, with the Celtic tiger licking some serious wounds, Ireland faces its future with nervous confidence. Bartlett delivers a clearly Republican perception of the island's history; those seeking the Unionists' viewpoint will need to look elsewhere.
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From Booklist

A Scottish professor of Irish history presents an outstanding, comprehensive single-volume history of the Emerald Isle, from the misty, pre-Celtic origins to the present. Bartlett uses a chronological approach but pays particular attention to some rather interesting, even controversial, aspects within various phases of Irish history. For example, Were the Vikings invaders or settlers? How English or how Irish were the so-called Anglo-Irish? Although his narrative requires a general familiarity with the history of the British Isles, reasonably well-informed general readers should easily digest his well-written and well-organized text. Bartlett superbly meshes social, political, and military factors to explain why the Irish, from either the north or the south, are the way they are. Both professional historians and general readers will enjoy this fine examination of the rich and varied history of this storied land. --Jay Freeman
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 648 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (July 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521197201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521197205
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.3 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #666,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This book is a carefully thought out description of the facts and events.
Patrice
It makes a good reference book and I can easily refer back or look up facts or time periods.
Shelley Clark
It is indeed a very well written and comprehensive one volume history of Ireelaand.
Thomas R,. Shaver

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Roy Madden on November 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
"Serious" history books tend to fall into two categories. The first is where the author seemingly wishes to impress the reader with his grasp of historical minutiae and use the book to recite a long list of dates and facts, leaving the reader to ponder whether life is too short and perhaps a spot of housework may be more enjoyable than enduring the read. The second type of history book is where the author can write a book that dispenses with endless facts and dates, and provides a summary of a historical event illustrating both its origin and its influence on future events. Inevitably the latter introduces some element of bias, but is typically a much more enjoyable read as the author provides some help to the reader in understanding the historical significance of events.

This book falls very firmly into the latter category and is the single best Irish history summary I've ever read. "Unputdownable" is not normally a word associated with histories, but this book had me staying up late and desperately waiting to get home from work to continue reading. Oddly, the strength of the book lies in the the 16th to 19th centuries, which is hardly the most swashbuckling and glamorous period in Irish history, but the author manages to make the era both understandable and an enjoyable read. For the first time I began to really understand the significance of figures (such as Tone) who found fame in that era and who are still part of present day Ireland.

The period on early Irish history isn't weak, but lacks the detail that is described in later periods. It is still an enjoyable read and serves the purpose of educating the reader on the origins of later conflict.

I didn't enjoy the final few chapters on modern day Ireland.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Patrice on April 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The college class I am taking has greatly broadened my understanding of the reasons why Irish History developed the way it did. This book is a carefully thought out description of the facts and events. The writing style is very pleasant. The time period covered begins in 431, the date of the arrival Palladius, the first bishop of Ireland, and proceeds up to 2010. This is especially good that it is current enough to go beyond the Celtic Tiger. I enjoyed the book very much. A picture is worth a thousand words. The photographs and illustrations included have a lot to say.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Emily M. on September 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was very helpful for a grad class on Irish literature; knowing Ireland's history definitely helped with my understanding of the country's literature. My only gripe is that the book isn't organized in the best way, and is kind of sloppy with it's chronology. You often have to reference several different sections for information on one topic, which made a quick reference a bit annoying and difficult.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is indeed a very well written and comprehensive one volume history of Ireelaand. Textbook size but neither tiresome nor dull ... one gets a feel for the ebb and flow of events in the life of the Emerald isle. I recommend it highly.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The facts were well written and it was easy to understand. It makes a good reference book and I can easily refer back or look up facts or time periods.
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