How the Irish Saved Civilization

  • by Thomas Cahill
  • Narrated by Donal Donnelly
  • 8 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the fall of Rome to the rise of Charlemagne - the "dark ages" - learning, scholarship, and culture disappeared from the European continent. The great heritage of Western civilization - from the Greek and Roman classics to Jewish and Christian works - would have been utterly lost were it not for the holy men and women of unconquered Ireland. In this delightful and illuminating look into a crucial but little-known "hinge" of history, Thomas Cahill takes us to the "island of saints and scholars," the Ireland of St. Patrick and the Book of Kells. Here, far from the barbarian despoliation of the continent, monks and scribes laboriously, lovingly, even playfully preserved the West's written treasury. With the return of stability in Europe, these Irish scholars were instrumental in spreading learning. Thus the Irish not only were conservators of civilization, but became shapers of the medieval mind, putting their unique stamp on Western culture.
Thanks to Thomas Cahill, this pivotal era is brought back to vibrant life, its personages portrayed in all their seemingly contemporary humanity, its issues simply and compellingly spelled out. How the Irish Saved Civilization will change forever the way we look at our past, and ourselves.


What the Critics Say

"Cahill's lovely prose breathes life into a 1,600-year-old history." ( The Los Angeles Times) "Charming and entirely engaging, delectable voyage into the distant past, a small treasure." ( The New York Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

How the Irish Saved Civilisation

What a shame that this wonderful, fascinating and sometimes moving book was spoiled by the unfortunate timbre and style of the voice of the narrator. The narrative and the stories which make it up, is so strong, that the damaging effect of the narrator's voice was subdued, thank goodness. With a less weary and strained-sounding narration the book would be of a five-star-plus quality, without question.
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- Alan

not convinced

this book should have been edited down. Disliked the narration. The main thesis of the book was not explored enough
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- Micheal

Book Details

  • Release Date: 22-02-2001
  • Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio