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.
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I worked on this book. I wrote the blurb and compiled the reviews. It is my favorite project from my summer as an editorial slave, and McCourt's easily readable synthesis of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Christin M. Mulligan
McCourt's book offers an introduction to Irish history from its mythological beginnings through the twentieth century. It is not particularly nuanced or insightful. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Student
McCourt has taken a school-text Irish history and, with the help of a good editor, dressed it up as his own. Read morePublished 3 months ago by E. Daly
I happen to be one of those strange people who actually enjoy reading history books. However, this was unlike any history I've ever read before - It was so much better! Read morePublished 6 months ago by M. Mckean
Basically an overview, a good start, but not a whole lot of depth.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer