Author: Jonathan Bardon
Publisher: Gill and McMillan
Published: September 4, 2009
Pages: 592 including works cited and Bibliography.
Synopsis: Jonathan Bardon covers all the obvious things: the invasions, battles, development of towns and cities, the Reformation, the Georgian era, the Famine, rebellions and resistance, the difference of Ulster, partition, the twentieth century. What makes his book so valuable, however, are the quirky subjects he chooses to illustrate how history really works: the great winter freeze of 1740 and the famine that followed; crime and dueling; an emigrant voyage; evictions. These episodes get behind the historical headlines to give a glimpse of past realities that might otherwise be lost to view. The author has retained the original episodic structure of the radio programs. The result is a marvelous mosaic of the Irish past, delivered with clarity and narrative skill.
Review: I won’t speak about the contents of the book because the synopsis does a good job of it. However, I will speak to the validity of information. The author does a good enough job of conveying the information in bite size chapters. His mythology understanding is very rudimentery and in some cases even laughable. His historical understanding is good though so one thing carries the other.
I think this book was based on episodes done for TV or Radio so that should give you an indication of how indepth (or in this case not so indepth) the information is.
Who is this book for? Someone who wants an overview of Irish history but doesn’t want to go indepth.