In this lively, engaging chronicle, best-selling author and storyteller Malachy McCourt delivers his own unique perspective on Irish history. As entertaining as he is informative, McCourt presents the sinners and saints of his homeland in an effort to understand Ireland through centuries of invasion, oppression, and suffering. Here is a sweeping account of the Irish, from the age of the Tuatha de Danann to the Viking Invasion, through An Gorta Mor (The Great Famine) to the British occupation, to the modern strife and struggle for independence -- with startling insights into how the Irish national character took shape. McCourt shows how scandals undermine the efforts of honest leaders on all sides, and how resentment grew so deeply entrenched. He explores the controversial relationship between Charles Parnell and Kitty O'Shea, and its actual role in the nationalist hero's downfall. He takes you into the private lives of Daniel O'Connell, Bobby Sands, Gerry Adams, and other players in the drama and tragedy -- and he makes you understand the milieu that produced them. Ireland has made a contribution to literature, diplomacy, and popular music not remotely matched by countries many times Ireland's size. In this volume, McCourt unveils a new take on the fiction, poetry, drama, and music that are Ireland's best-known export. Here are James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, Samuel Beckett, and Bono as you have never seen or understood them before. Readers of this unparalleled history of the Emerald Isle will come back to where they are and get to know the place for the first time.