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ESSENTIAL LIBRARY FOR IRISH AMER Hardcover – Mar 9 1999


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Amazon.ca First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist



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From Library Journal

American-born Irish historical novelist Llywelyn (1916, LJ 2/15/98) has compiled an annotated bibliography of works she feels anyone interested in Irish studies ought to read. Descriptions are provided for titles in categories including biography, history, folklore, novels, and poetry. Many works are recent publications, such as Thomas Cahill's How the Irish Saved Civilization (LJ 3/15/95), but standard Irish classics are well represented, e.g., Sean O'Casey's Autobiographies, J.M. Synge's Aran Islands, and Cecil Woodham-Smith's The Great Hunger. Novelists include James Joyce, Walter Macken, James Plunkett, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, and Maeve Binchy; poets include Seamus Heaney, John Montague, and W.B. Yeats. As with similar "must read" lists, one can argue for the inclusion of other works, but this compilation is one person's opinion. One notable omission, however, is any collection of short stories. Nonetheless, Llywelyn provides the basis for a solid grounding in Irish studies. Recommended for public and academic libraries.ADenise J. Stankovics, Rockville P.L., Vernon, CT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Since 1980 MORGAN LLYWELYN has created a body of work chronicling the Celts and Ireland, from the earliest times to the present day. Her critically acclaimed novels, both of history and of mythology, have been translated into many languages. She lives in Ireland.

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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Well researched, highly readable, reference April 6 1999
By gaclark777@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Morgan has once again used her background as a historical researcher combined with an easy flowing style to give the most succint encapsulation of at least 100 books, covering several genres. Better than reading a review in the New York Times. It allows you to be knowledgable of the context and contents of these wonderful books as if you have already read the book, but tugs at your intellect to read the whole story. It provides insights about many of the authors and their works that could only have been written by one who loves the written word.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
A great read leading to more great reads Jan. 19 2000
By Kelly M. Frahm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book helped me further explore my interest in Irish history. It is very difficult to sift through the thousands of sub-standard to awful texts written on Ireland and her people, and this book has helped find the books truly worth reading. I haven't found a bad book that was recommended by The Essential Library.
I have many of these books and this is an excellent reference. Jan. 7 2015
By J. Guild - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I have known of Morgan Llywelyn and her books for years.When I came across this book,I had not heard of it,nor did I realize what a wonderful book it was.It's amazing to me that there are only 5 Reviews on it at this point,but not amazed that it has been highly rated.My copy is a soft cover,like shown,with the Irish landscape on the cover.It was Copyright 1999 with a Hardcover,and the Trade Paperback Edition 2000,also with the landscape scene.There is also another edition ,Kindle 2010.I don't know if it was revised or not.Morgan Llywelyn was born in America on December 3,1937,so she in now 77.I would be great if she has not already revised this book ,if she were to to do so,and include some of the great Irish books published in the last 15 years.
In this book,the first thing you get is a Introduction in which Llywelyn explains why Ireland has such an enviable reputation for literature.This alone,is worth the price of the book.
In the book ,Llywelyn discusses 100 books that she choose that exemplifies Irish Literature,and thus Irish culture.The books are categorized in 9 sections;Autobiography,Biograpgy and Memoirs;History;Humor;Ireland and America;Mythology and Fokelore;Novels;Poetry;Reference Books; and Travel and Picture Books.There is a very good Index both by titles and authors.Also included are suggested sources for Irish-Interest Books,both in North America and Ireland as well as the Internet.
With an average of two pages per book;she gives a brief description and summary of the book and the reason she chose it.Her approach on each book is far superior to what one usually gets from professional critics.
I have many,though not all,of the books covered,and it makes a good reference to turn to if one wants to know what any of these books is about,and why they are some of the best on each subject.
Of all the ones I've read,I certainly agree with the books she has chosen.
I would however,like to suggest that the plethora of excellent Irish books continues to grow unabated and there are many that have been published in the last 20 years that are excellent .
Some of my favorites are:
Galway Bay...Mary Kelly
The Great Shame..Keneally
The Fields of Athenray...Roy
Any novel by Patrick Taylor
Bandit Country...Harnden
Teacher Man...McCourt
A Star Called Henry...Doyle
Ireland...Delaney
Princes of Ireland...Rutherford
The Secret History of ther IRA...Moloney
The Green Flag...Lee
The Encyclopedia of Ireland...Lalor
Where does one stop;,there 's no end to the excellent Literature nor to the great Irish music.And all this from such a small country.No doubt ,no other country and culture even comes close to producing the amount of Literature and Music as does Ireland.

On my last visit to Ireland,I was blown away when I went into the Irish section of a large Dublin bookstore.There had to be thousands of titles ,where here in North America one is lucky to find a shelf of Irish books.
Grand History Jan. 7 2013
By M. C. Mooney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I learned more Irish history reading Ms Llywelyn's briefs than in any complete text. The legends, stories heard in my youth from aunts and uncles came to life between these covers.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent resource for anyone interested in Irish history Sept. 21 2012
By Colleen M. Kennedy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Morgan Llywelyn provides a superb annotated bibliography of resources for anyone who is interested in learning more about Irish history. She includes contemporary as well as classical authors of non-fiction and fiction dealing with Ireland.

There are only two additional resources that I would recommend for anyone interested in the Irish struggle for independence.

The first is the novel Trinity and its sequel Redemption both by Leon Uris

Personally, I preferred Thomas Kinsella's translation The Tain: Translated from the Irish Tain Bo Cuailnge over The Raid: A Dramatic Retelling of Ireland's Epic Tale (Ulster Cycle) by Randy Lee Eickhoff, however, I do understand that the Kinsella version is no longer readily available for purchase.

I definitely recommend this book as a necessary resource to everyone who studies Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the Irish Diaspora.


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