Friday, November 30, 2007

Book of the Week

Well, I'll admit, I am in no way prepared for this week's book. I am still reading about 4 books, nothing new however, and thus I do not have one ready. But, I think I can muster enough brain power to find one that interests the masses (I hope!)

Ok, ready... here it is.. The reason I know about this book is because the cutest older gentleman (a university professor in fact.. ) told me about it. It is called "How the Irish Saved Civilization" Written by Thomas Cahill. It chronicles the fate of ancient texts (think Plato, Homer etc...) in the hands of the Irish.

From the Editors:

The perfect St. Patrick''s Day gift, and a book in the best tradition of popular history -- the untold story of Ireland''s role in maintaining Western culture while the Dark Ages settled on Europe.

Every year millions of Americans celebrate St. Patrick''s Day, but they may not be aware of how great an influence St. Patrick was on the subsequent history of civilization. Not only did he bring Christianity to Ireland, he instilled a sense of literacy and learning that would create the conditions that allowed Ireland to become "the isle of saints and scholars" -- and thus preserve Western culture while Europe was being overrun by barbarians.

In this entertaining and compelling narrative, Thomas Cahill tells the story of how Europe evolved from the classical age of Rome to the medieval era. Without Ireland, the transition could not have taken place. Not only did Irish monks and scribes maintain the very record of Western civilization -- copying manuscripts of Greek and Latin writers, both pagan and Christian, while libraries and learning on the continent were forever lost -- they brought their uniquely Irish world-view to the task.

As Cahill delightfully illustrates, so much of the liveliness we associate with medieval culture has its roots in Ireland. When the seeds of culture were replanted on the European continent, it was from Ireland that they were germinated.

In the tradition of Barbara Tuchman''s A Distant Mirror, How The Irish Saved Civilization reconstructs an era that few know about but which is central to understanding our past and our cultural heritage. But it conveys its knowledge with a winking wit that aptly captures the sensibility of the unsung Irish who relaunched civilization.

That's all for now... I'm tapped out. Happy Reading, and happy weekend....


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