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The Sea Kingdoms: The History of Celtic Britain and Ireland Hardcover – December 3, 2001
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About the Author
Alistair Moffat was responsible for turning a rough, ragbag and forgettable part of the Edinburgh Festival into the Fringe we know today. It was he who brought the comics - starting with Rowan Atkinson - and the world-wide fame and notoriety which followed. Then he went into TV and ended up Managing Director of Scottish Television, a job he left recently to concentrate on individual writing and television projects. His first book, published by Weidenfeld, Arthur and the Lost Kingdoms, sold over 17,000 copies. This is his second. He is an expert in Scottish Gaelic and history.
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Once one gets used to the image of the "inner sea" including the coasts of Eastern and Northern Ireland, Western Cornwall, Wales, Scotland and Mann, it is obvious that there was an entire kingdom with links to and defined by the sea (as a primal and efficient highway) and that those links go very far back in time, and extend as far away as the north coast of Europe and even the Americas(!).
As I am coming to discover - this is the second book of his I've lately devoured - Moffat can feed you a lot of well researched information and make it entertaining at the same time. This was literally a "page turner" for me. I wish all history could combine cultural information with such detail and mature analysis, and then make it readable. He certainly doesn't disappoint.
Want to know why the Lords of the Isles were considered an "independent" kingdom for so long, or why the Romans sent legions to annihilate the Druids at Anglesey? Or who might actually have "discovered" America and Iceland even before the Vikings? Or, for that matter, who the first Viking-style raiders were - spoiler alert they were Picts and Northern Irish in the 400s - just too many great details and too much history here to give away; or ignore. What part did the Church play in the decline of Celtic culture, and how well and where has Celtic culture survived?
Get the book, and you'll be glad you did. I sure was.