The Shaping of the Celtic World by Patrick Lavin

Author: Patrick Lavin

Publisher: iUniverse

Copyright: 2011

Synopsis: The Shaping of the Celtic World traces the rise and decline of the great Celtic peoples. Ranging from prehistoric to modern times, it undertakes an examination of Celtic civilization, revealing a proud and independent society with its unique history, mythology, pantheon of gods, literature, and artistry. The romance of Celtic mythology is unsurpassed. It introduces us to many intriguing legends, of which the battles between the gods and giants are most alluring.Emerging in the 6th century BC, the Celts conquered and settled the greater part of Europe, laying the foundation for westerncivilization. Their contribution in shaping the modern world cannot be underestimated. As Europe languished in the barbarism of the Dark Ages, the great heritage of Western Europe was endangered of being entirely lost but for the Celtic monks of Ireland and Britain who scribed and illuminated Europes treasury of literature.The book is written for the millions who proudly identify with their Celtic rootsknown today by their ethnic identities as Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Mann, Breton, and Cornish. This concise yet user-friendly guide to ancient European history will be enjoyed by a variety of readers including students, travelers, history enthusiasts, and those interested in their Celtic origins.

Review: For the first time I am not sure how to write a review for a book I’ve read.  The material in the book is basically divided into three parts: history, religion and art.

The information in the historical part is basically correct but very much outdated.  The latest reference in the book is copyrighted to 2006 and that is a book that lists the classical writers’ quotes about the Celts.  His sources go all the way back to the early 1900s.  Good sources…just really OLD.  I do like that he went all the way to Christianity and beyond in terms of history since a lot of other books tend to stop just before Christianity comes to the Celts.

The part on the Celtic religion was very accurate considering he again was using old sources, but we really don’t have much of an update on that front even in new books, at least nothing that would change that information drastically.

In the arts part of the book the author talks about not just material art but also literature and it was actually very interesting in that he brings it all the way up to the 19th century, and not just to the Christian era.

I didn’t hate the book, but I didn’t love it either.  So what is the problem?  I think what bothered me the most is that I didn’t see the author’s thoughts on the subject matter he was covering.  He isn’t a scholar but rather an enthusiast and I knew that so I was expecting to see that enthusiasm…which I didn’t. I felt like he had a bunch of points by other authors that he had to convey and he did…end of story.

6 thoughts on “The Shaping of the Celtic World by Patrick Lavin

  1. Dafydd says:

    Nice Review! I notice that quite a few History books I’ve read in the past (not all of them on the Celts) use books written a long time ago. One book I read about the Egyptians had used sources written in 1853!

    On another note, have you read The Celtic Revolution by Simon Young? It sounds similar in the way it tries to show the impact the Celts have had on history.

    • celticscholar says:

      It is a shame really when you think about it there are newer books on the market that the author could have consulted.

      Thanks for the book suggestion, I’ll keep an eye out for it

    • Padraig O'Laimin says:

      Sorry Celticscholar, but I must agree with Dafydd. Sources from older books should never be overlooked.. .

      • celticscholar says:

        I never said they should be, just that they need to be viewed with caution, and if someone was to write yet another book on the Celts, then maybe they should look at the latest sources just as much as they looked at the older ones.

  2. gmoore says:

    Did he call the Celtic people Aryans? That’s a sure sign something isn’t right. Some of the old books on folklore are entertaining, but not so much the history.

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