15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
What a nightmare!,
By A Customer
This review is from: How the Irish Saved Civilisation: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe (Hinges of History) (Paperback)
Thomas Cahill's book is a feeble (and cheap) attempt to whip up Irish-American patriotism. In fact, a catchy title and an attractive cover are about the only things this book has "going for it." Cahill is completely misguided and presents his arguments with a chaotic incoherence. He is also misinformed. For ex., he states that the art of the medieval period was filled with smiling and playful demons, as it was meant to be perceived as "light" by the audience. It is common knowledge that medieval art, religious art, was on the apocalyptic end of the church propaganda spectrum. His tone is always condescending, as if he were speaking to a group of children who could never possibly comprehend the sophisticated arguments he's making. He attempts to elevate the Irish to the status of the saviors of civilization, but does so by mocking other groups, such as the Mormons (whom he calls uneducated). His style makes the topic itself less interesting. It is not scholarly or even acceptable for main-stream readers. I would love to read a book which deals with the same subject written by someone else, as the topic itself, divorced from Cahill's inaptitude, is fascinating and definitely overlooked by true scholars, since it deals with a transitional period. Probably THE worst book I have ever read.