• Ireland

  • A Concise History from the Twelfth Century to the Present Day
  • By: Paul Johnson
  • Narrated by: Wanda McCaddon
  • Length: 8 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 01-09-11
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars 3.3 (3 ratings)


Ireland is inarguably a beautiful, enchanted place. But its history is more turbulent, fascinating, and terrible than any other. From the first English presence in Ireland in the 12th century, through siege, rebellion, and civil war, to Irish ascendancy, home rule, and the present-day troubles, best-selling author Paul Johnson tells, with remarkable clarity and concision, the compelling story of this most remarkable island.
©1980 Paul Johnson (P)1995 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic reviews

“A lively, intelligent, sometimes provocative but always stimulating account of Ireland from the 12th century to our own….” ( Sunday Telegraph)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Deborah on 16-09-11

Very badly narrated

I was looking forward to what I hoped would be a compelling story of the history of Ireland. The book may be factually correct but it is ruined by the narrator seeming to rush through the book as if she couldn't wait to get to the end. It certainly could not hold my attention. To cap it all, Wanda McCaddon evidently had not researched the book beforehand as on several occasions she pronounced some of the towns incorrectly! Reminded me of the worse kind of history lesson ... could have been fascinating but ruined by the delivery.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Patrick on 17-12-14

An English perspective

Would you try another book written by Paul Johnson or narrated by Wanda McCaddon?

Yes and no

Would you recommend Ireland to your friends? Why or why not?

This book, whilst interestingly written, is in essence the history of the English in Ireland. Little or nothing of the "native" Irish appears except insofar as they interact with Normans and English. After the act of union I felt it was a more integrated and satisfactory history. However if you wish a recent history of the "troubles" note that the book ends in the mid 1970's with a heavy concentration on c1964 to 1974.

What didn’t you like about Wanda McCaddon’s performance?

Couldn't be bothered to find out the pronunciation of irish names and terms. She pronounced the difficult "Gaelic " name Coalisland as Coal-is-land. Risible!

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By R. Smith on 02-05-16

Helpful as an overview

I appreciate this audio book, and felt that I got a good basic overview of Ireland's history. I do acknowledge and respect the views that the book is mostly from the English point of view, so read reviews other than mine. My objective was to have an audio book on the subject so that I could, while driving, get a basic orientation to the history of Ireland, and I'm not trying to become an expert.

One of the reasons I was interested in understanding the history was to answer questions about how and why tension between Ireland and England originated, and I think this book helped me to understand that. Likewise I hoped to understand the tension between Catholic and Protestant, and I believe I am now somewhat informed about that.

I would like to find a book or other material that will help me to understand the people of the Republic of Ireland, and the people of Northern Ireland, and what life and viewpoints are like today.

I'd like to visit the Republic of Ireland, but not as an obnoxious drinking Yank, and rather as a somewhat informed student that hopes to learn more and to appreciate the place and the people and the customs and the history.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Ian on 14-04-12

Another great consise history

I came into this book thinking Irish historys would be the same as Scotland -- a celtic people trying to fight off the English. Wrong! Ireland, because it's an island, and because it remained Catholic had a much different, and much worse history.

Many interesting events here. How English invaders who stayed kept going native. How the 1790 rebellion was led by Protestants. How de Tocqueville found poverty in 19th century Ireland worse than anything he had seen in Europe or N America.

Recommend this book to anyone wanting to know where the 'troubles' came from.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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