Synopses & Reviews
In the successful tradition of Thomas Cahill’s modern-day classic, How the Irish Saved Civilization, here is an authoritative and completely engaging one-volume account of Irish history by County Limerick native, gifted storyteller, and bestselling author Malachy McCourt. Its pages are populated with figures from myth, legend, ancient history, and current events, from Cu Chulainn and Brian Boru to Oliver Cromwell, James Joyce, Lady Gregory, Gerry Adams, and Sinead O’Connor—some beloved, some controversial, but all with an undeniable influence on the course of Irish history and in turn, the history of the modern world. McCourt proves an irresistible guide on this vivid tour through the colorful and turbulent history of the Emerald Isle, from the Celtic settlements, through Viking and British occupations, modern troubles and struggle for independence. He also offers fresh insights on the country’s cultural contributions to folklore, literature, art, music, and cuisine.
"McCourt (A Monk Swimming) breaks down Ireland's history into 16 sections and, through biographical vignettes, uses famous Irish men and woman to define each epoch. For example, he explores ancient Ireland by profiling the three most prominent Irish saints: Patrick, Brigid and Columcille. Each brief, colloquial sketch provides not only historical background but also colorful conjectures. Moving through history, readers encounter Brian Bor, the Irish king credited with expelling the Vikings and unifying Ireland; Strongbow, who led the Norman invasion of Ireland; and Hugh O'Neill, who battled Elizabeth for Irish freedom before succumbing in the Battle of Kinsale in 1601. Modern Ireland is represented by the likes of Theobald Wolfe Tone, a member of the (Presbyterian) United Irishmen, who led the unsuccessful revolution of 1798; and Daniel O'Connell, the Liberator, who brought religious freedom to Ireland's Catholics. Of course, modern revolutionary Ireland is represented by Michael Collins and Eamon De Valera, and there are also looks at writers W.B. Yeats and Samuel Beckett. McCourt takes us up to the present with portraits of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and rock star Bono. Interesting for the neophyte, this volume will be old news for the veteran reader of Irish history. Agent, Laurie Liss at Sterling Lord Literistic. Forecast: A $25,000 marketing campaign will include a 10-city author tour, 30-city radio satellite tour and a 50,000-copy first printing. " Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
McCourt proves an irresistible guide on this vivid tour through the colorful and turbulent history of the Emerald Isle. He also offers fresh insights on the country's cultural contributions to folklore, literature, art, music, and cuisine.
About the Author
County Limerick native Malachy McCourt is the authority to tell the history of Ireland. He has written several books, including the best-selling A Monk Swimming, Singing My Him Song, Danny Boy, Voices of Ireland, and The Claddagh Ring. Complementing his literary work, McCourt is also a skilled actor. He appeared in the television series Oz and in feature films such as The Bonfire of the Vanities. He lives in New York City.