How the Irish saved civilization: the untold story of Ireland's heroic role from the fall of Rome to the rise of medieval Europe

Front Cover
Doubleday, Feb 1, 1996 - Art - 246 pages
772 Reviews
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 ageof 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 centralto 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.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
211
4 stars
266
3 stars
175
2 stars
66
1 star
54

Brilliant analysis/elegantly wrought prose. - Goodreads
Bad writing, pompous and rude. - Goodreads
A font of erudition. - Goodreads
The premise is interesting. - Goodreads
It was a page turner, though at times I spaced out. - Goodreads
Lacks a depth of research and precision. - Goodreads
User Review - Flag as inappropriate

This is a great read -especially for Saint Patrick's Day. It reminds us that in so many ways this small country has made giant contributions to Western civilization and that is doubly true as regards American history. Cahill is an exciting writer. He does his homework and is amazingly positive being a non-Catholic. The only thing I would add that there was another very real and significant guardian of civilization in the world, one which the west has just about ignored in the past. Perhaps this book will stimulate the reader to discover what the Moslem culture with all its riches of science and the arts was doing while Europe was was in danger of losing much of its treasured past.  

Review: How the Irish Saved Civilization (The Hinges of History #1)

User Review  - Max Ostrovsky - Goodreads

Books! Reading! Thanks to the Irish, and while the book focused on this, which I wish it had more of - I wanted to know more about the Irish story telling traditions, it mainly focused on the life and ... Read full review

All 8 reviews »

Related books

Contents

WHAT WAS LOST
60
A SHIFTING WORLD OF DARKNESS
69
GOOD NEWS FROM FAR OFF
99
Copyright

6 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

References from web pages

Who Saved Civilization? The Irish, That's Who!
HOW THE IRISH SAVED CIVILIZATION The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe By Thomas Cahill ...
www.nytimes.com/ books/ 97/ 03/ 09/ bsp/ irish.html

Anchor Catalog | How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill
How the Irish Saved Civilization Thomas Cahill History - Ireland Anchor Trade Paperback
www.randomhouse.com/ anchor/ catalog/ display.pperl?isbn=9780385418492

Dwell in Possibility: How the Irish Saved Civilization, by Thomas ...
How the Irish Saved Civilization, by Thomas Cahill (New York: Doubleday, 1995). No sooner did I say that I might not be able to finish a book than I picked ...
dwell-in-possibility.blogspot.com/ 2006/ 08/ how-irish-saved-civilization-by-thomas.html

How the Irish saved Civilization | swampbubbles - News, Politics ...
swampbubbles is a user centered site dedicated to breaking news and political discussion of Toledo and Northwest Ohio. It is a fast moving, interactive and ...
swampbubbles.com/ how-irish-saved-civilization

How the Irish Saved Civilization
How civilization was saved by the skin of its teeth
www.wwco.com/ ~dda/ irish.html

How the Irish Saved Civilization - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
How The Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe is a non-fiction historical ...
en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ How_the_Irish_Saved_Civilization

How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill at emusic
How the Irish Saved CivilizationThe Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe. Listen · Save for later ...
www.emusic.com/ audiobooks/ book/ How-the-Irish-Saved-Civilization-MP3-Download/ 10000981.html

Cahill, Thomas
The Hinges of History Series: Three Books by Thomas Cahill How the Irish Saved Civilization, 1995 The Gifts of the Jews, 1998 ...
www.ctlibraryassociation.org/ lookbooks/ reviews/ Cahill.html

The Sacred Fire - Celtic Books
How the Irish Saved Civilization : The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe Thomas A. Cahill. Reviews ...
www.sacredfire.net/ books_hist.html

Donald's Place: How the Irish Saved Civilization
More services Windows Live™. Windows Live services. Home · Calendar · Contacts · Family Safety · Gallery · Hotmail · onecare · skydrive · Spaces...
sobca.spaces.live.com/ blog/ cns!26BF10FD74A06608!366.entry

About the author (1996)

THOMAS CAHILL is the author of the best-selling books, How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland 's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe, The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels, and Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The World Before and After Jesus.  These books comprise the first three volumes of a prospective seven-volume series entitled "The Hinges of History," in which Cahill recounts formative moments in Western civilization. In "The Hinges of History," Thomas Cahill endeavors to retell the story of the Western World through little-known stories of the great gift-givers, people who contributed immensely to Western, culture and the evolution of Western sensibility, thus revealing how we have become the people we are and why we think and feel the way we do today.

Thomas Cahill is best known, in his books and lectures, for taking on a broad scope of complex history and distilling it into accessible, instructive, and entertaining narrative. His lively, engaging writing animates cultures that existed up to five millennia ago, revealing the lives of his principal characters with refreshing insight and joy. He writes history, not in its usual terms of war and catastrophe, but as "narratives of grace, the recountings of those blessed and inexplicable moments when someone did something for someone else, saved a life, bestowed a gift, gave something beyond what was required by circumstance." Unlike all too many history lessons, a Thomas Cahill history book or speech is impossible to forget.

He has taught at Queens College, Fordham University and Seton Hall University, served as the North American education correspondent for the Times of London, and was for many years a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Prior to retiring recently to write full-time, he was director of religious publishing at Doubleday for six years. He and his wife, Susan, also an author, founded the now legendary Cahill & Company Catalogue, much beloved by readers. They divide their time between New York and Rome.


From the Hardcover edition.