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The history of Ireland has traditionally focused on the localized struggles of religious conflict, territoriality and the fight for Home Rule. But from the early Catholic missions into Europe to the embrace of the euro, the real story of Ireland has played out on the larger international stage. "Story of Ireland" presents this new take on Irish history, challenging the narrative that has been told for generations and drawing fresh conclusions about the way the Irish have lived. Revisiting the major turning points in Irish history, Neil Hegarty re-examines the accepted stories, challenging long-held myths and looking not only at the dynamics of what happened in Ireland, but also at the role of events abroad. How did Europe's 16th century religious wars inform the incredible violence inflicted on the Irish by the Elizabethans? What was the impact of the French and American revolutions on the Irish nationalist movement? What were the consequences of Ireland's policy of neutrality during the Second World War? "Story of Ireland" sets out to answer these questions and more, rejecting the introspection that has often characterized Irish history. Accompanying a landmark series coproduced by the BBC and RTE, and with an introduction by series presenter, Fergal Keane, "Story of Ireland" is an epic account of Ireland's history for an entire new generation.

Story of Ireland

Author: Neil Hegarty

Title: Story of Ireland

ISBN: 1846079683

ISBN13: 978-1846079689

Publisher: BBC (February 1, 2011)

Language: English

Subcategory: Europe

Size pdf version: 1755 kb

Size epub version: 1944 kb

Size fb2 version: 1943 kb

Rating: 4.5/5

Pages: 400 pages


Reviews (7)
Orevise
First, in praise: I found this volume to be very helpful in giving me a broad overview of Ireland from prehistory to the present (through 2011). Given how woefully ignorant I am of Gaelic language, British and Irish history and Irish culture, this reading gave me just the right amount of (read "dangerous" amount of) information to predicate our trip to Ireland later this year. Kudos on the great timeline in the back of the book! [This book is a companion effort to the five-hour BBC/RTE television series of the same name. I have purchased and viewed the latter, and will review it separately.]

Then in complaint: Given my woeful lack of background in Irish history, culture and language (see above), I found elements of this book maddening. Most of these could be easily fixed in a second edition, which I hope there will be. For example: There is no glossary, which is astonishing, given the large number of Gaelic terms used, not to say other Irish idioms. Please provide a glossary in the second edition!

Bring better consistency between the text and the map-illustrations. Example: Though the text refers often to "Leinster" and "Munster" these political divisions are nowhere defined or described, nor more importantly illustrated on ANY of the included maps! On the outside possibility that someone picks up this volume as their entre to Ireland and things Irish, isn't it correspondingly possible that the reader doesn't know what some of these terms mean? (In fact, several of the nice maps in the TV series showed both "Leinster" and "Munster" -- so maybe that's the message: If you must know, buy the DVDs!)

But back to the positive: If you would like an even-handed, interesting, programmatic review of Ireland, you could do way worse than this book. Just also buy a Gaelic/English dictionary. <wink>
Orevise
First, in praise: I found this volume to be very helpful in giving me a broad overview of Ireland from prehistory to the present (through 2011). Given how woefully ignorant I am of Gaelic language, British and Irish history and Irish culture, this reading gave me just the right amount of (read "dangerous" amount of) information to predicate our trip to Ireland later this year. Kudos on the great timeline in the back of the book! [This book is a companion effort to the five-hour BBC/RTE television series of the same name. I have purchased and viewed the latter, and will review it separately.]

Then in complaint: Given my woeful lack of background in Irish history, culture and language (see above), I found elements of this book maddening. Most of these could be easily fixed in a second edition, which I hope there will be. For example: There is no glossary, which is astonishing, given the large number of Gaelic terms used, not to say other Irish idioms. Please provide a glossary in the second edition!

Bring better consistency between the text and the map-illustrations. Example: Though the text refers often to "Leinster" and "Munster" these political divisions are nowhere defined or described, nor more importantly illustrated on ANY of the included maps! On the outside possibility that someone picks up this volume as their entre to Ireland and things Irish, isn't it correspondingly possible that the reader doesn't know what some of these terms mean? (In fact, several of the nice maps in the TV series showed both "Leinster" and "Munster" -- so maybe that's the message: If you must know, buy the DVDs!)

But back to the positive: If you would like an even-handed, interesting, programmatic review of Ireland, you could do way worse than this book. Just also buy a Gaelic/English dictionary. <wink>
Joni_Dep
Very interesting and informative. England certainly showed how to it forced people into slavery without it being called slavery. They basically did the same to North America via importation of Africans to support the cotton and tobacco trade via the colonies and themselves. Interesting to observe how the desire for money controlled peoples actions even in the 1700's. Shame on them and shame on the world for letting it happen. We are still dealing with the out fall even now.
Joni_Dep
Very interesting and informative. England certainly showed how to it forced people into slavery without it being called slavery. They basically did the same to North America via importation of Africans to support the cotton and tobacco trade via the colonies and themselves. Interesting to observe how the desire for money controlled peoples actions even in the 1700's. Shame on them and shame on the world for letting it happen. We are still dealing with the out fall even now.
Groll
I'm a huge fan of Ireland, and I have visited it twice. I'm also a huge fan of the history of Ireland. As far as Europe (and the world) is concerned, Ireland often gets overlooked as just a peaceful and neutral country where many of us share our ancestry with. People forget just how much history there is on this little island country.

This book was a great read that covered the entire history of Ireland. Some parts did get a bit slow, and so many names are mentioned that they start to run together. However, upon finishing the book you come away with a great overview of just how far Ireland has come.

I would recommend this to anyone that is looking for a power read and overview on Irish history.
Groll
I'm a huge fan of Ireland, and I have visited it twice. I'm also a huge fan of the history of Ireland. As far as Europe (and the world) is concerned, Ireland often gets overlooked as just a peaceful and neutral country where many of us share our ancestry with. People forget just how much history there is on this little island country.

This book was a great read that covered the entire history of Ireland. Some parts did get a bit slow, and so many names are mentioned that they start to run together. However, upon finishing the book you come away with a great overview of just how far Ireland has come.

I would recommend this to anyone that is looking for a power read and overview on Irish history.
Tat
I heard about the TV series and then ordered the book from amazon.co.uk before it was available in the US. I recently watched the TV version on youtube, found it to be interesting TV (with one major criticism--see below) and hoped that the book would provide a more in-depth examination of the issues directed at those who are interested in serious history. I guess I was hoping for an Irish equivalent of "A People's History of the United States" or "A Different Mirror", so I am very disappointed.

Admittedly, I have given up on the book without finishing it because it does not seem to go any deeper than the TV series and has many of the same lacunae.

My major criticism is that it fails to even mention that the pope who gave King Henry II of England permission--some would say "orders"--to invade Ireland in the 12th century was the only English pope in history (Nicholas Breakspear/Pope Adrian IV). Both the book and the series are at pains to say why the pope did what he did and what his (somewhat legitimate) concerns and aims were in doing so, but I find the omission from both series and book disingenuous at the least and possibly downright historically dishonest. If you're relating/writing serious history, I feel you shouldn't simply omit important information. If the author does not believe that the pope's nationality was relevant to his actions, I believe he should state that and then put forth his reasons and arguments so that the reader can decide for himself or herself.

On the up side, like Fergal Keane, the narrator of the TV series who also writes the preface to the book, I grew up in Ireland in the Sixties where the historical narrative we were taught was much more the inculcation of republican mythology than serious history, so I appreciate the fact that an effort to rewrite that narrative with a more historico-critical approach that pays attention to reliable primary sources is needed for Ireland. Having lived in the US for 30 years and having read historians like Howard Zinn and Roanld Takaki, I know it can be done well. However, I think the fact that the TV series was made for the BBC (which also published the book) may, as some have commented in other places, have influenced the narrative and style of both TV series and book.

If one is interested in a light and essentially one-sided uncritical "retake" on Irish history, this may be the book you (or you could watch the series online for free). If you're a serious student of history, steer clear.
Tat
I heard about the TV series and then ordered the book from amazon.co.uk before it was available in the US. I recently watched the TV version on youtube, found it to be interesting TV (with one major criticism--see below) and hoped that the book would provide a more in-depth examination of the issues directed at those who are interested in serious history. I guess I was hoping for an Irish equivalent of "A People's History of the United States" or "A Different Mirror", so I am very disappointed.

Admittedly, I have given up on the book without finishing it because it does not seem to go any deeper than the TV series and has many of the same lacunae.

My major criticism is that it fails to even mention that the pope who gave King Henry II of England permission--some would say "orders"--to invade Ireland in the 12th century was the only English pope in history (Nicholas Breakspear/Pope Adrian IV). Both the book and the series are at pains to say why the pope did what he did and what his (somewhat legitimate) concerns and aims were in doing so, but I find the omission from both series and book disingenuous at the least and possibly downright historically dishonest. If you're relating/writing serious history, I feel you shouldn't simply omit important information. If the author does not believe that the pope's nationality was relevant to his actions, I believe he should state that and then put forth his reasons and arguments so that the reader can decide for himself or herself.

On the up side, like Fergal Keane, the narrator of the TV series who also writes the preface to the book, I grew up in Ireland in the Sixties where the historical narrative we were taught was much more the inculcation of republican mythology than serious history, so I appreciate the fact that an effort to rewrite that narrative with a more historico-critical approach that pays attention to reliable primary sources is needed for Ireland. Having lived in the US for 30 years and having read historians like Howard Zinn and Roanld Takaki, I know it can be done well. However, I think the fact that the TV series was made for the BBC (which also published the book) may, as some have commented in other places, have influenced the narrative and style of both TV series and book.

If one is interested in a light and essentially one-sided uncritical "retake" on Irish history, this may be the book you (or you could watch the series online for free). If you're a serious student of history, steer clear.
energy breath
The Story of Ireland by Neil Hegarty is absolutely masterful in the presentation of the history of this beautiful and troubled country for those of us who do not live in Ireland as well as those who do. Hegarty is straight-forward with his commentary yet writes of his beloved country for those of us (like myself) who have visited, but don't have a feel for the dynamics of the Irish people. Hegarty does this for me. His easy to read style and lively dialogue is superb and you are drawn into the story of a country rich in tradition involving both heroes and villians. There is more to Ireland than "The Troubles" and the "Famine" and this book tells the story well. Highly recommended
energy breath
The Story of Ireland by Neil Hegarty is absolutely masterful in the presentation of the history of this beautiful and troubled country for those of us who do not live in Ireland as well as those who do. Hegarty is straight-forward with his commentary yet writes of his beloved country for those of us (like myself) who have visited, but don't have a feel for the dynamics of the Irish people. Hegarty does this for me. His easy to read style and lively dialogue is superb and you are drawn into the story of a country rich in tradition involving both heroes and villians. There is more to Ireland than "The Troubles" and the "Famine" and this book tells the story well. Highly recommended

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