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Making history fascinating
on 12 November 2008
Bardon's History of Ireland covers the ground in a different way than any other book addressing the same subject. It is based on episodes (250 of them) and uses material gleaned from painstaking and detailed research, much of it from very local sources. It is highly granular in its approach and the flow of "quotations" provides an understanding and flavor of the people and events of the time. This work struck me as moving from two dimensional history to the perspective given by three dimensions. The characters jump off the page.
The structure of the book - 250 chapters - comes from the fact that it was originally conceived as as BBC Radio series broadcasted daily for a full year. As a result each chapter is standalone which has the benefit that one can pick up this book and read any chapter (less than a 1000 words) in 10 to 15 minutes without having to have read what went before. It is a great book for dipping into.
This is a serious history book and sets a new standard in the way history should be written with its ease of accessibility. This is both a reference book and a bedside table companion. This is factual storytelling at its best.