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Shvoong Home>Books>How The Irish Saved Civilization Review

How The Irish Saved Civilization

Book Review   by:Yishai     Original Author: Thomas Cahill
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How The Irish Saved Civilization Thomas Cahill ingeniously captures the artistic, playful, brave, yet endearing spirit of the Irish People in His work "How The Irish Saved Civilization". He begins the book with an introduction that poses a question ," How real is History?", he then takes that simple line and transforms it into a scholarly study. One which delves into the unique situation of the Irish people before, during, and after the fall of Rome, how they took the literature of the world (Greek, Roman, Jewish, and Christian) and saved it from ignorant barbaric destruction. He describes how they transposed these writings ,writings that we hold so dear today to education and civilization, into the volumes that would last into the rise of Medieval Europe. How these once alien savages, took such great literary works, held them close and dear to their hearts making them their own and thus preserving them for the world. Before such a feat could be accomplished though, such a free and wild race as the Irish must be tamed and perhaps groomed for the task ahead. Cahill not only lights up the relative darkness in the history of Ireland and their Patron Saint, Patrick, but rather he lights a torch and guides you over the Emerald Isle pointing out historical fact and presenting scholarly theory. Teaching and guiding he shows his reader how an untamed, wild, and inwardly scared people, became the constant, intelligient, and faithful monks that Saved Civilization. Such a change didn't come at the cost of their very Irish outlook on life though, rather it strengthened it, letting it shine through in the works they preserved.
Such a light was essential in a time in which death, and the fear of death, ruled life. They not only left literature with a distinct Celtic tint, but they also left intriguing poetry and writings of their own. Some deeply religious some revertedly barbaric, but all completely Irish. Most of which might have been totally overlooked or possibly lost forever if it weren't for there occurence along with the great works being preserved. In this way the Irish people not only saved Civilization in general but they also preserved their own views and thoughts about the world. Thomas Cahill with this book " How The Irish Saved Civilization", has brought forth an intriguing, yet often unseen honor to Ancient Irish civilization. An honor that is mostly overlooked in a world where the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians are the norm for civilization. He shows us how a once tiny barbaric island culture, on the fringe of the known world, became a culture so grand and instrumental in the preservation of civilization as we know it today, that it reaches beyond the past and grips our hearts.
Published: December 29, 2005   
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