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Ireland: A Short History (Short Histories) Paperback – July 1, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A brisk and clear introduction to Irish history" -- Cormac O'Grada, Professor of History, University College Dublin

"Fair to both the Nationalist and Unionist tradition." -- Jeremy Black, University of Exeter

About the Author

Joseph Coohill is Assistant Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University. He specializes in the history of 19th-century Britain and Ireland.
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Product Details

  • Series: Short Histories
  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications; 3 edition (July 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851686002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851686001
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #942,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a teacher and writer whose work is primarily limited to literary studies, I found this text exceptionally helpful in its integration of accessible historical scholarship and incisive commentary on cultural and social contexts. Coohill successfully enables his reader to understand the complexity and instability of political and cultural identities, particularly as they reveal themselves in twentieth century Ireland. And while the expansive history has exceptional breadth, Coohill skillfully explicates the intricacy and depth of historical and cultural interpretations of critical historical moments. I recommend this text to anyone interested in learning more about the fascinating interplay between Irish culture and history.
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Format: Paperback
This book was very good. I have read a few books on Ireland and this is now one of my favorites. It is not only a good read (how could interesting history not be?!?!), but is also a good reference book to look up facts about Irish history. Particularly interesting were the sections on the various interpretations of Irish history. I didn't realize that people's different ideas about Irish history influenced their political and social opinions so much. At times, though, I thought that maybe historians are too interested in the work of each other. Each chapter has three or four pages on interpretations. This is a good thing, but, if I wasn't interested in the particular topic, I found that I wasn't interested in the interpretations either. But, overall, this is really good history, it seems to me.
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Format: Paperback
Ireland: A Short History is a wonderful little history Coohill does a really good job of describing the nuances among and between the competing groups in Irish history. It's not as clear-cut as the Catholic-Protestant divide that we often hear about in the news. Really amazing how he can be so deft at describing these differences in historical context while under a pretty severe limit to keep it a "short" history. Landowners v. peasants, nationalists v. unionists, and all the sub-groups in between get fair treatment. It should never be forgotten that there were (and are) Protestant nationalists and Catholic unionists. Coohill eschews the simplistic explanations in favor of "real" history, that is, being true to the documents and records, rather than writing for a point of view. If only we had more historians like Coohill.
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By A Customer on October 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
Finally, I understand Irish History! A Short History of Ireland by Joseph Coohill is the most readable and understandable account of that ancient and troubled land. I didn't know that the Scandinavians were its first settlers and that the Celts didn't arrive until 500 BC. Then the Scandinavians came back again in 800, etc. Of course, there's the 800 years of British rule and all the bitterness that it has caused. This book clearly explains how the mess we call the "Famine" arose from a simple fungus and spread by the incompetence and wrongheadedness of a foreign ruling class that sacrificed human life for economic policy. Coohill shows how the event has shaped many of the current ideas and frustrations of both the Irish and their myriad descendents all over the globe. The fight for independence and the creation of North Ireland are particularly well described, as is the current situation ("The Troubles"). In addition, this book taught me how history is written and how historians change their views as they cover more information. Fascinating.
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Format: Paperback
Very good book. I purchased it while doing research for a family history, trying to understand what my great-grandparents were going through when they decided to come to America. I read the section I wanted...and kept reading. Coohill does a very good job of covering the various factions and attitudes, and the feelings of the Irish at the time. Excellent book - I recommend it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What I really enjoyed about this book is that it presents an objective look at a multitude of differing points of view that existed at different points in time throughout Irish history. Maybe more important is that Coohill goes to great lengths to show how these views string together and relate to each other relative to sequencing and degree of influence on politics and society at large. Very easy to follow and commit to memory.

With all of that goodness and without the use of a single disparaging remark in the book, this history of Ireland leaves the reader with no doubt that hundreds of years English policies and mismanagement of Ireland was the cause of the majority of the pain and suffering that the Irish people have endured (The Catholic Church certainly didn't help). Further, it becomes clear in the later chapters that the Irish people (both North and South) have taken the majority of the 20th century to recover from hundreds of years of suppression (arguably slavery)and are learning, as a child does, to walk on their own two feet while keeping their identity in tact or better yet reviving it.

I enjoyed the book thoroughly and will pass it on to others.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good summary of Irish history. Keeps moving and does not get stuck with too much detail. Gives additional reading if more information is needed.
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