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The late Irish Anglican classicist J.B. Bury wrote this biography in 1905 and titled it The Life of Saint Patrick and His Place in History, studying Patrick's life and mission for the light it could shed on the further reaches of the Roman Empire of his time. Bury's intent was to produce a study based on what could be known with a degree of certainty. In the process, he overturned much of what had been thought about Patrick's life. Since 1905, new information has come to light. Sweeney, who edited Francis Sabatier's 1894 biography of St. Francis of Assisi in much the same way, takes Bury's original text and fashions a contemporary English rendering from it, making the last chapter the first and also adding sidebars that highlight recent scholarship and provide new insights into Patrick's life and thought. While scholarly, this edition will also appeal to a popular audience. Libraries may have R.C.P. Hanson's Life and Writings of the Historical St. Patrick(1983) and Patrick's own The Confession of St. Patrick and Letter to Coroticus, available in translation. This edition of Bury is recommended for comprehensive collections, while Hanson is sufficient for other libraries.
—Augustine J. Curley