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64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2011
With a title like "101 Things You Didn't Know", I was expecting a list of fun facts and trivia items that could be pulled out on St. Patrick's Day during conversation. That's not what this is. Instead, it's a collection of 101 mini-essays (each of them several paragraphs long) going chronologically through the history of the Emerald Isle from prehistoric times to the present day. It's fairly light reading and is useful for the typical general interest reader who knows next to nothing about the Celts, the Book of Kells, or Bloody Sunday.

It is arranged into four sections: Ancient Ireland, Arrival of Christianity and the British, Preserving Irish Culture and History, and Emigration to Modern Life. There are also two appendices: one on Irish Gaelic pronunciation with a few basic phrases, and another with a very short collection of Irish proverbs and blessings.

After reading "101 Things You Didn't Know About Irish History", you will know a lot more about Ireland than a book of random fun facts could have taught. Sometimes it's good to have your expectations broken!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2011
I've read my books of Irish History, both ancient and modern and this is by far the best. It provides all you need to know without hundreds of pages of details. It allows you to understand where the Irish came from and why they are who they are. I absolutley loved this book.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2011
When I was in school, I studied Medieval history, with an emphasis on England, and it astounded me when I read this book to realize how little I really knew about Ireland and Irish culture and history! I liked the format of this book - many (101, to be exact!) very short chapters, only 2-3 pages at most - that were easy to read and didn't overload on the facts. Most of the items were presented in chronological order, though there was some overlap, especially during tumultous times in Irish history. The tone was very light, and there were a few times where I thought it was a bit TOO light, but not to the point of being offensive. Factual information was given, but not in a way that made you feel you were reading a scholarly book. I did find it a bit tedious as the chronology approached modern times, but that's most likely just me, since modern history isn't my interest - the writing and style did not change.

I was very glad to have a chance to partially fill in what turned out to be a huge gap in my knowledge, and finished the book with a much greater respect for the Irish and their history and culture. I would recommend this to just about anyone. It won't replace any scholarly works on Ireland and the Irish, but it's an excellent beginning book for someone who is casually interested in Irish history. For what it is - a quick, light, factual read - it's just right.

Note on Kindle formatting: Excellent. I found a few instances of incorrect punctuation throughout the book, all which could easily have been found in a print version as well. There was nothing that impacted ease of reading.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2011
I decided to read this book in honor of Saint Patrick's Day, expecting it to just skim over the history of Ireland. The book surprised me by the depth it covered. Still, this book is not for scholars, but it should suffice those readers wanting to know something about the people of Ireland.

Though I feel the amount of information was more than adequate, sometimes the book came across as rather "dry". But the book held my interest in the long run.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2012
Do yourself a favour and buy a decent history of Ireland. This is badly written and sourced. It is so superficially handled that there is nothing to recommend it. For example, one of the striking aspects of Iron Age Ireland is that very few weapons have been found by archeologists for the period - to read this author you would think that early Ireland was in a constant stage of warfare. He confuses mythology with history - and the actual archeological evidence is not considered.

The Penal laws of the 18th century are dealt with as if they didn't happen - or only resulted in Catholics choosing different career paths because of them! This is a howler .....and a misrepresentation of the actual Irish historical experience.

I don't recommend this book as having much validity.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2011
I had picked this up when it was free, but promptly forgot it.

While taking a break from 100 year old mysteries, I rediscovered this and read it.

Lots of good information about Irish mythology, history, religion, immigration and politics. Definitely recommend to anyone interested in the history of the Irish, and what led to where Ireland is now. It was described as a collection of mini-essays in another review, and that is a good way to put it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2013
This was a very entertaining book, I bought it for my husband and it turned out he already had it. I read it and there was so much information written in a concise yet entertaining manner. It's worth it to read, and it also great to test those friends/family members who think they know all about the Irish.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2008
I have a book by the same author called "The Everything Irish Book," and it's pretty much the same. So if you have that one, don't get this one too! Great books though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2013
This is a decent little book with a lot packed into it. Nice rundown of the history in Ireland. If you are looking for more details then this is not the book for you. It is a great first read though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2013
I love the way it is broken up into short essays. It makes it really enjoyable. I found many things that I did not know and several that I was aware of.
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