Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 3.5
( 53 )
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(19)

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(10)

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(6)

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(4)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Singularly Brilliant.

If there is one unexcusable thing in the world, it is a dull history book. Too many historians go at their task with no flair. NOT SO of Mr. Cahill. He writes history with color, with beauty, with feeling. He integrates his history with other facets of the human exp...
If there is one unexcusable thing in the world, it is a dull history book. Too many historians go at their task with no flair. NOT SO of Mr. Cahill. He writes history with color, with beauty, with feeling. He integrates his history with other facets of the human experience--pulling in theology and philosophy. 'How the Irish Save Civilization' is a great book. It makes me proud to be part Irish.

posted by Anonymous on December 28, 2000

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

A reviewer

I liked this book. I enjoyed Cahill's thesis, even though I thought he could have spent more time elaborating more on it. I have read all of the HINGES OF HISTORY series except The Gifts of the Jews. I'm hoping to get to it shortly. His chapters on Patrick are good ...
I liked this book. I enjoyed Cahill's thesis, even though I thought he could have spent more time elaborating more on it. I have read all of the HINGES OF HISTORY series except The Gifts of the Jews. I'm hoping to get to it shortly. His chapters on Patrick are good and I really enjoyed all the education on Irish literature, etc. His early chapters are good too. Cahill is very good at giving the reader a context for where he is going to go. I was also pleased that there were less references to sex in this book than some of the others.

posted by Anonymous on June 21, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2000

    Singularly Brilliant.

    If there is one unexcusable thing in the world, it is a dull history book. Too many historians go at their task with no flair. NOT SO of Mr. Cahill. He writes history with color, with beauty, with feeling. He integrates his history with other facets of the human experience--pulling in theology and philosophy. 'How the Irish Save Civilization' is a great book. It makes me proud to be part Irish.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2007

    A reviewer

    I liked this book. I enjoyed Cahill's thesis, even though I thought he could have spent more time elaborating more on it. I have read all of the HINGES OF HISTORY series except The Gifts of the Jews. I'm hoping to get to it shortly. His chapters on Patrick are good and I really enjoyed all the education on Irish literature, etc. His early chapters are good too. Cahill is very good at giving the reader a context for where he is going to go. I was also pleased that there were less references to sex in this book than some of the others.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2003

    Muy Bien

    I thought this book was very good. It is a book that will make you think and recall facts learnt long ago in history class. It was very intriging and very informative. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Irish history.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2003

    The poetic power of a grand title

    To think my Irish ancestors had saved civilization! Okay, Kenneth Clark in his book Civilisation attributes the deed to Charlemagne while Cahill, in his lovely tale, credits the Irish. Who cares? The thing was saved, and Cahill's book is a most charming read. Cormac Keegan, author of IRISH FIRST, EUROPEAN SECOND

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2003

    Don't waste your time

    As a work of history, this book is worthless. Everything of any value is in the final pages of the book. It has a fascinating, intriguing title. Unfortunately, 90% of the book has nothing to do with the title. The editor who accepted this book should be ashamed to be called a professional.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2001

    Remarkable Contributions

    You will be disappointed if you read this book as a history text. Instead, its value is in the colorful way in which Cahill dramatizes the remarkable contributions of St. Patrick and the Medieval Irish monks. Cahill is a very insightful writer. His description of the many parallels between the falling Roman Empire of the early fifth century and the United States of the early twenty-first century is alone worth the price of the book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2000

    Read ONLY the last 20 pages - You'll miss nothing!

    Thanks God I borrowed, instead of bought this book. The first half is Mr Cahill illustrates to the reader his knowledge of Latin, and those writer's of the 1st - 5th centuries. His history of St. Patrick is at least readable, which the first 100 pages is not. Great cure for insomnia. The last 20 pages finally deal with the Irish Monks taking their message and scibing talents to Europe. Very interesting reading, but I wonder if this book failed miserably under another title - which some Marketing genius changed and re- released.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2013

    This book appears to fall in the new genre of "creative non

    This book appears to fall in the new genre of "creative non-fiction". If one accepts this and an occasional leap in faith, it is an entertaining read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2012

    How the Irish Saved Civilization was ultimately a fascinating a

    How the Irish Saved Civilization was ultimately a fascinating and enlightening read. There is nothing more enjoyable than a book that will provoke thought, and this book did just that, and beautifully so. While the undue bias against paganism was more than a bit off-putting at times, the book overall was enjoyable. The style is engaging and accessible without feeling too “dumbed down,” which is refreshing and pleasant, as such a balance is difficult to find. Even without considering the writing style, it would not be an exaggeration to say that this book had a deep personal impact on me. It was a factor in my renewed interest in my Irish heritage, as well as in my reconsideration of my view of the Catholic Church. Saint Patrick’s faith, as it is portrayed in this book, as well as the faith of his followers, is far different from harshness I perceived during my Roman Catholic education in my youth. Had it been shown to me then as I saw it in this book—warm, hopeful, accepting—I may not have wished as strongly as I did for some time to disassociate myself from any aspect of it. But I digress.
    Thomas Cahill’s book is a thorough and thoughtful investigation of the oft overlooked impact made by the Irish on the course of Western Civilization’s history. I feel it is not only interesting, but certainly a must-read for anyone looking to really understand the period. It provides such a wealth of information that is not often presented elsewhere. Once one is able to move past the anti-pagan bias, the book is truly a captivating and inspiring piece. I would certainly recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2012

    great book. really helped me to understand what happened in the

    great book. really helped me to understand what happened in the dark ages and the irish contribution to recivilizing europe.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2007

    Hmmm......

    Indeed. The author does fail to show any credible sources. This would and does create a lack of beleif in the history. However, if the lack of sources is ignored, and you put your trust into the author, the story is indeed very interesting. Any Irish man or woman, and for that matter, any ansector of such, it is very comforting to hear that your people saved the human civilization. Such words create a pride before the first page is even read. But did copying down works of literature really save us all? Yet again, indeed. Literature, the very language that we as of now will be known for in the epochs of time to come, is essential. So, the irish did save civilization from falling back into the ages they had struggled to overcome. In fact, they set a precedent to always push forward, never destroy the present, for one can only fall back from there. The Irish were actually being the main character from Farenheit 451. Except far in the past. So, the story is good. But unfortunatly, 'tis only such. The lack of sources secures this books spot as 'okay'.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2006

    Drivel, Bad Propaganda!

    This is the worst nonsense I have ever read! The author fails to prove that a solitary work of history, literature, science or anything else can be traced to Irish monks. First, the Romans and Greeks were more than capable of preserving a Civilization that they built without others assistance. Second, their is no evidence that the Germans destroyed all of the schools and libraries. They clearly revered the Roman world that they wanted to become a part of. Ex: Theodoric the Ostrogothic king built many libraries as did later Frankish kings. Where did the Irish get their books, if the barbarians burned them all? Third, the Benedictines, Byzantines, Jews, Armenians, and Arabs were preserving and spreading learning before Patrick ever reached Ireland. The total lack of sources, bibliography, and footnotes make it plain enough. The author is appealing to ethnic sentiment over 'historical truth!'

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2004

    A fine book, yet somewhat too short.

    I liked this title very much, it is very 'light' to read and contains some interesting theories... Yet in some places it lacks facts. And the price here is MUCH TOO HIGH. I bought its Polish version for 2$ !!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2004

    Disappointing

    This book is a disappointment. Reads like it is padded out and some of the 'facts' are doubtful.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2004

    Misses the point

    Maybe I was wrong to have expectations, but I do expected some factual information from this book. Nevertheless, the author limits himself to do an allegedly literary presentation founded on rather weak basis. The author simply misses some of the most important points. For instance: what books were actually saved by the irish monks? Were there also copies of these works in other parts of Europe? Rigour is not in contradiction with enjoyability. I hope someone realizes and writes a new and more interesting book on this fascinating subject.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2000

    Great Read about a very overlooked milestone in history

    This book offers a summary of the transformation from the Roman Era through the dark ages to the dawn of the Middle Ages. Most of the summary is well covered in many other books but the material about St. Patrick and the Irish Monks involvement in preserving civilation is nicely summarized.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2014

    Would not recommend, if Irish history is your wish.

    spends too much time in Rome. Very little is actually covered in Ireland. I was disappointed, with the book. Lots of good history, but not as much on Ireland as I had hoped.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    I enjoyed listening to How the Irish Saved Civilization on my co

    I enjoyed listening to How the Irish Saved Civilization on my commutes. The Whys and Hows of History and Civilizations during the Dark Ages are thought provoking and stimulating. I read Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea after How the Irish Saved Civilization, and have Cahill's other books from his Hinges of History on my to-read list.

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  • Posted December 1, 2012

    How the Irish saved Civilization was an interesting read. Thi


    How the Irish saved Civilization was an interesting read. This book provided a look into the role of the Irish in civilization, which is often overlooked. This book also provide interesting details into history for example, Thomas Cahill explained how the Romans feared the Irish because they would show up to battle with crazy hair only wearing a torc (neck ornament) around their neck. Cahill tied their appearance during battle to their strong and stubborn mentality. I also enjoyed how the author used literature from ancient western civilization to provide an in depth understanding to the moral before, during, and after the fall of Rome, and of how the Irish transformed and saved civilization by saving books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2000

    How Thomas Cahill Failed To Save His Book

    My propensity when reviewing books is to usually give them high ratings; therefore, my ratings here might disappoint a few (mainly history buffs). While the story of St. Patrick is interesting to this book, that is one of very few good things about it. Most of the time Cahill is too caught up in his own technical jargon to give concern to us unfortunate readers. As a person of Irish decent I was expecting more from this book and all of its hype. It was disappointing, but for those of you who need a concise history of this time period - and don't mind muddling through the jargon - this is still a good book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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