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Download How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Irelands Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe Audiobook, by Thomas Cahill Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (13,497 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Thomas Cahill Narrator: Liam Neeson Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Hinges of History Series Release Date: July 2000 ISBN: 9780553750423
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The perfect St. Patrick's Day gift, and a book in the best tradition of popular history -- the untold story of Ireland's role in maintaining Western culture while the Dark Ages settled on Europe. Every year millions of Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but they may not be aware of how great an influence St. Patrick was on the subsequent history of civilization. Not only did he bring Christianity to Ireland, he instilled a sense of literacy and learning that would create the conditions that allowed Ireland to become "the isle of saints and scholars" -- and thus preserve Western culture while Europe was being overrun by barbarians. In this entertaining and compelling narrative, Thomas Cahill tells the story of how Europe evolved from the classical age of Rome to the medieval era. Without Ireland, the transition could not have taken place. Not only did Irish monks and scribes maintain the very record of Western civilization -- copying manuscripts of Greek and Latin writers, both pagan and Christian, while libraries and learning on the continent were forever lost -- they brought their uniquely Irish world-view to the task. As Cahill delightfully illustrates, so much of the liveliness we associate with medieval culture has its roots in Ireland. When the seeds of culture were replanted on the European continent, it was from Ireland that they were germinated. In the tradition of Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror, How The Irish Saved Civilization reconstructs an era that few know about but which is central to understanding our past and our cultural heritage. But it conveys its knowledge with a winking wit that aptly captures the sensibility of the unsung Irish who relaunched civilization.


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Quotes & Awards

  • Charming and poetic...an entirely engaging, delectable voyage into th edistant past, a small treasure. The New York Times
  • "A lovely and engrossing tale . . . Graceful and instructive. Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times
  • Cahill's lively prose breathes life into a 1,600-year-old history. The Boston Globe

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mikkee | 2/16/2014

    " This is an excellently written history of Ireland and the Irish people. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dan Scott | 2/11/2014

    " I learned to love Patrick reading this book, but lost my children and grandchildren in the process. They moved to Galway. So let the reader beware. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 George | 2/9/2014

    " I had to read this for a quiz in the Medieval European History course I'm taking this semester. Easy & entertaining, although I feel that Cahill sometimes stretches his evidence a bit too much in order to fit his interpretations. Nevertheless, recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas Boyle | 2/8/2014

    " Fascinating story of the emergence of Europe from the Dark Ages assisted by a few Celtic monks. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bud Smith | 2/1/2014

    " Mythology, Saints, and good humor; this little history book has it all. It should be a prerequisit for anyone reading Angela's Ashes "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Desertlass | 1/24/2014

    " A very interesting book about how groovy the Irish were/are. Got my Irish blood singing! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nell | 1/18/2014

    " When this book is actually discussing its subjects--late Antiquity, history of the Celts, Irish Catholicism and how it got that way--it's engaging. Unfortunately, just when Cahill starts warming to any of those subjects, he'll jump to a tangent about the "Irish spirit" without ever really explaining what he means by that. His use of "Irish spirit" or "characteristically Irish" reminds me of Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass: "When I say a word, it means just what I choose it to mean." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenny | 1/7/2014

    " Really fascinating - covered a lot of history that I wasn't previously acquainted with. Interesting thesis. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 chris | 12/22/2013

    " I liked the writing style of this book, and the story behind the travelling of documents over time was fascinating. I am not usually one to read these little slice of history books, but this one had some appeal to it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn Buschhoff | 12/22/2013

    " As a child, even though my father loved history, I found it rather dry. As an adult, books like this one haved opened my mind to reading history. This is a short book that gives an appreciation for the history that nobody bothered to teach you. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bailey Dugan | 11/26/2013

    " I thought that this book was well detailed and throughly written as it explains "How the Irish Saved Civilization". Time well spent! :) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amber | 11/10/2013

    " Barnes & Noble Sept 2007 "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brian Binkley | 11/5/2013

    " Forgot I read this in college until I saw it at the library. Derp! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pat/rick | 11/5/2013

    " A quick read, concise and full of nuggets, instructive on the transition from late antiquity through the fall of Rome to the early medieval. For history dorks with Celtic blood, it's a must read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Firbolg Publishing | 5/9/2013

    " A fun read but as a historian I have to take exception to the use of sources. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ellen | 2/4/2013

    " Amazing story! Wish I had read this before our tromp down the coast of Northumbria....! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sean | 10/30/2012

    " Not something to be proud of. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rick Caster | 9/28/2012

    " Great review of Eauropean History. Of special interest to those with a Catholic grade school history background. Taught me so much about the fall of the Roman empire and the "dark ages". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rob Roy | 6/28/2012

    " Little known history, that is well worth knowing "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Grace | 4/2/2012

    " I liked how religions, history and societies are intertwined, but I felt that some of his arguments weren't very convincing. I might give it another try some time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michael Mckinney | 2/14/2012

    " I learned, from this book, that Ireland had culture before Sinead. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Erika Nelson | 12/25/2011

    " It's an interesting little book that discusses Ireland at about the time of the fall of the Roman empire. For me his argument didn't hold much water, but I still enjoyed reading it and picking up the information it presented. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Greg | 8/26/2011

    " A popular history of the role of Celtic Christians after the fall of classical civilization and before the middle ages. Easy to read, interesting story. Not intended to be a scholarly work but it's fun and will get you thinking a bit about a period of history that's often overlooked. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bettye | 8/22/2011

    " So much better the second time around. Love the Irish! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Catherine | 5/22/2011

    " I really love the way Cahill makes history human and immediate; accessible and yet with due respect, and a remarkable acute awareness of the conditions that existed for the human beings of whom he writes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steven | 5/4/2011

    " Very interesting book, wish it was longer. Some ideas in my opinion were exaggerated. It is a wonderfully written book, very interesting, very thought provoking. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Okanagan | 4/26/2011

    " An easy non-fiction read about the history of the Irish. Starting with the breakdown of the Roman Empire and its culture, the author walks the reader through the events of the centuries before the onset of the Middle Ages. Informative, scholarly, yet entertaining to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelly | 4/22/2011

    " This is one of the best books I've ever read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katy Budget Books | 3/18/2011

    " Jonathan's pick.

    Cahill's book was a great insight into the reality of the Middle Ages and the importance of the much overlooked role of the Irish in the preservation of Classical material.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 3/17/2011

    " Listened to this one while commuting. An interesting read and eyeopening about a little know part of our cultural history. The Dark Ages were a scary time...my thanks go out to those Irish Monks for continuing with their craft and education during that period. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Phillip | 3/4/2011

    " Drawn out story that makes a grand conclusion based on scant evidence and even weaker argumentation. Helpful as an introduction to medieval history, I suppose. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mardel | 2/27/2011

    " entertaining and a good, light, introduction to the subject. It served as a bit of a refresher course. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristen | 2/25/2011

    " Fabulous read!! Very entertaining as well as educational. Anyone with an interest in Irish history, Ireland, Celtic peoples history in general will enjoy this read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian | 2/23/2011

    " awesome bit of church history that is often overlooked "

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About the Author
Author Thomas Cahill

Thomas Cahill, former director of religious publishing at Doubleday, is the bestselling author of the Hinges of History series. His appealing approach to distant history has won the attention of millions of readers in North America and beyond. He and his wife, Susan, also a writer, divide their time between New York and Rome.