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Ireland: A History Hardcover – Jul 5 2010
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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
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.See all Product Description
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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.