on 28 February 2015
This is a fairly academic account and I approached it as such. It can, in parts, appear repetitive and over laboured - the Irish names can break the reading flow for a non-speaker like myself - however it is well worth the effort. The apparent repetition comes from that fact that he is so thorough in his treatment of the sources - written accounts that have survived and been transformed (both Irish and non Irish) looking into why and how, as well as at the various theories posited over the centuries - and whilst he reaches a conclusion of his own it is not without paying defference to dissenting views first - you are welcome to disagree with him and he gives you the fodder for the counter argument and in that sense there is a maturity to it.
The Book is not only about Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf but also Irish society at the time. It's (often surprising) influence on (and from) it's neighbours - Scotland, Wales, England, France, Norway and Denmark. It looks at the facts and the myths - the events and power players.
He examines the fascination with this event and it's grip on the Irish psyche to this day - an underdog who rises to the top and becomes teh main character in a seminal moment of tragic glory for Ireland - gaining for a breif moment a unified Irish Kingdom under an Irish King that was lost at the very moment of it most convincing sucess...
For anyone with a serious interest in Irish History this is a must for your collection.