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Ireland: A History [Hardcover]

Thomas Bartlett
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

July 5 2010 0521197201 978-0521197205 1
Magisterial political, social, cultural and economic history of Ireland from prehistory to the present by one of Ireland's leading historians.

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"Based on wide reading, clearly structured, elegantly expressed, spiced with a sardonic wit, steering a skilful course through the treacherous ideological rapids of Irish historiography, Bartlett's Ireland deserves to become a classic." J. J. Lee, author of Ireland,1912-1985

'Vivid and nuanced, personal and scholarly, this audacious survey of the Irish past and present is magisterial in its range, but full of novelistic details, unexpected insights and wry observation. Professor Bartlett has the gift of explanation without simplification." -Declam Kiberd, author of Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation

'There are other single volume histories which cover the Iron Age through to the present but this accomplished and judicious book is by far the best, and will be read with interest and favour by both scholars and a wider audience. It will naturally take its place alongside the most-distinguished survey-writing on Irish history." -Alvin Jackson, author of Home Rule: An Irish History, 1800-2000

"Bartlett superbly meshes social, political, and military factors to explain why the Irish, from either the north or the south, are the way they are. Both professional historians and general readers will enjoy this fine examination of the rich and varied history of this storied land." -Booklist, Jay Freeman

"this is the best single-volume history of the island." -History Ireland

''Ireland: A History is compulsive reading." -The Australian

"...Bartlett's volume makes a valuable contribution to the field, offering a narrative that lacks neither ambition nor spirited wit. Highly recommended." -Choice

"the strength of this book is that the author is not striving to please any party; rather he is struggling to give a judicious appraisal of what happened over time and to present this in lucid prose with frequent witty interjections. In this, he succeeds magnificently, and I have every confidence that this volume will attract the wide and international readership it deserves within the academy and with the educated public." -H-Albion

" have yet to read a single-volume history that covers the full sweep of Irish heritage as well as Thomas Bartlett's Ireland: A History." -Ann Pedtke, Historical Novels Review

Book Description

A magisterial new history of Ireland from prehistory to the present. Examining Irish politics, society, culture and economic history, Thomas Bartlett traces the long evolution of the two Irish states which emerged in the early twentieth century as well as the problems that confront them both in the twenty-first century.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent survey of Irish history Feb. 8 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent book which gives a great overview of Irish history. Uses lively language and attempts to remain as unbiased as possible. I had originally bought it after doing some research looking for the best single volume of Irish history and was very happy to discover it was also being used as required reading for a third level University class on Modern Irish history.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Written, Up to the Minute History April 17 2011
By Patrice - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The college class I am taking has greatly broadened my understanding of the reasons why Irish History developed the way it did. This book is a carefully thought out description of the facts and events. The writing style is very pleasant. The time period covered begins in 431, the date of the arrival Palladius, the first bishop of Ireland, and proceeds up to 2010. This is especially good that it is current enough to go beyond the Celtic Tiger. I enjoyed the book very much. A picture is worth a thousand words. The photographs and illustrations included have a lot to say.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read Nov. 30 2011
By Roy Madden - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"Serious" history books tend to fall into two categories. The first is where the author seemingly wishes to impress the reader with his grasp of historical minutiae and use the book to recite a long list of dates and facts, leaving the reader to ponder whether life is too short and perhaps a spot of housework may be more enjoyable than enduring the read. The second type of history book is where the author can write a book that dispenses with endless facts and dates, and provides a summary of a historical event illustrating both its origin and its influence on future events. Inevitably the latter introduces some element of bias, but is typically a much more enjoyable read as the author provides some help to the reader in understanding the historical significance of events.

This book falls very firmly into the latter category and is the single best Irish history summary I've ever read. "Unputdownable" is not normally a word associated with histories, but this book had me staying up late and desperately waiting to get home from work to continue reading. Oddly, the strength of the book lies in the the 16th to 19th centuries, which is hardly the most swashbuckling and glamorous period in Irish history, but the author manages to make the era both understandable and an enjoyable read. For the first time I began to really understand the significance of figures (such as Tone) who found fame in that era and who are still part of present day Ireland.

The period on early Irish history isn't weak, but lacks the detail that is described in later periods. It is still an enjoyable read and serves the purpose of educating the reader on the origins of later conflict.

I didn't enjoy the final few chapters on modern day Ireland. There is analysis of history and there is moralising, and unfortunately the latter chapters I found preachy. It is a minor defect however.

The book is largely a political, economic and military history. It doesn't spend much time dealing with customs, costumes, "ordinary people" issues so to speak.

This also isn't a book for those looking for the tweedle dee tweedle dum history of Ireland, full of kings and maidens and pipers all playing and dancing at crossroads around a stack of shillelaghs while reciting poetry as gaeilge. It is a book if you want to understand where political thought on this complicated island has come from, understand the origins of major issues such as the role of violence in Irish Republicanism, and is a book if you want to find an excuse to escape from doing some housework.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, very complete history Sept. 5 2013
By Emily M. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was very helpful for a grad class on Irish literature; knowing Ireland's history definitely helped with my understanding of the country's literature. My only gripe is that the book isn't organized in the best way, and is kind of sloppy with it's chronology. You often have to reference several different sections for information on one topic, which made a quick reference a bit annoying and difficult.
5.0 out of 5 stars The book left me with a disgust of the IRA and the support these terrorist had ... Aug. 24 2014
By Sco Dova - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I gave this book the highest rating, because it is well written and very comprehensive. On the negative side, I did not feel the author was completely unbiased. The book left me with a disgust of the IRA and the support these terrorist had from the Republic of Ireland. The fact that the republic would not extradite IRA criminals to Northern Ireland to stand trial is uncivilized. I was also repulsed by the standing ovation in 1998 at a Sinn Féin gathering of released IRA bombers. I could never understand why Northern Ireland HAD to become part of the republic. I find no logic in this argument. The deaths of innocent lives and the destruction of property caused by the IRA should prevent the group from being seen as freedom fighters. They are no better than Al Qaeda and have no moral authority. It is also interesting that the stance of the Catholic Church in Ireland was absent from the discussion. I make these comments as a person of Irish ancestry. Nonetheless, the book is worth the time.
4.0 out of 5 stars It was well written and easy to follow. April 23 2014
By Shelley Clark - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The facts were well written and it was easy to understand. It makes a good reference book and I can easily refer back or look up facts or time periods.
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