Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Celts: A History” as Want to Read:
The Celts: A History
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Celts: A History

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  310 ratings  ·  21 reviews

Uncovering one of Europe's greatest civilizations

For centuries the Celts held sway in Europe. Even after their conquest by the Romans, their culture remained vigorous, ensuring that much of it endured to feed an endless fascination with Celtic history and myths, artwork and treasures.

Peter Berresford Ellis, a foremost authority on the Celtic peoples and their culture, pre

...more
Paperback, Revised paperback edition, 235 pages
Published 2004 by Carroll & Graf (first published 1998)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Celts, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Celts

Outlander by Diana GabaldonMacbeth by William ShakespeareThe Last Sunset by Bob AtkinsonThe Winter Sea by Susanna KearsleyDragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Books Set in Scotland
71st out of 473 books — 348 voters
How the Scots Invented the Modern World by Arthur HermanScotland by Rosemary GoringThe Celts by Peter Berresford EllisMary Queen of Scots by Antonia FraserPicts, Gaels and Scots by Sally Foster
Scottish History
3rd out of 132 books — 30 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,056)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
CJ - Drop Dead Cute
Nov 13, 2008 CJ - Drop Dead Cute rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Ancient Celtic History
Informative as always. Especially loved the chapters on women, religion and ancient history. Good book to pick up if you are interested in Celtic History. Ellis' voice is informative and interesting and knowledgeable. Please note that is a Cultural Anthropological book and even to pare it down further, a Socially Cultural book. If you want something dry, based purely on fact and numbers then this book is not one you want to pick up. Also not recommended for those interested in only Insular Celti...more
Steve
Sort of dry. I learned a lot, but it's like digesting pig iron. The author crams a lot of information into a short book (just over 200 pages). I often found my eyes glazing over as I re-read paragraphs filled with names I have no idea how to pronounce. Each chapter focuses on some aspect of Celtic civilization, so that makes things easier. And the chapters are short. But it's probably a story that needs to be told in a much longer book, and written with greater style.
Nan
A fascinating look at an ancient, influential, but overlooked European group that is ancestral to most Americans. Ellis is obviously a celtophile, attributing so much of what are considered Roman advances to ideas lifted from the long-fought and eventually conquered Celts. I gave this book to my son, who's in love with the Romans, knowing that it would add to his understanding of them.
Maya
Historians who talked about the Celts can be fit into three categories. The first category includes the Classical writers who wrote to demonize them, and the writers who wrote to show
how unsophisticated they are. The second category includes the people who wrote to show what a great society they were and how misunderstood they were and those include both modern and
classical writers. And the third and final category is the writers who were somewhat unbiased and these are very few. The author of...more
Kendra
For such a small book (221 pages), and considering it had to skim through so much, it was chock-full of information. The author did a really good job of giving information about assorted Celtic tribes from all over Europe, rather then focusing on a specific area, such as Ireland. He compared and contrasted some of the major tribes, and then went in to some very interesting descriptions on what the Celts did, that the Romans end up being known for. Not a difficult or tedious read, rather enjoyabl...more
Kate Robinson
I found myself surprisingly enthralled with this book. Despite the fact that it is littered with impossible to pronounce names, it is an entertaining portrait of a tribe of people that it turns out I knew nothing about. Certain chapters were more interesting than others, but on the whole well worth the read.
Abi
I found this book very interesting and enjoyable, though it's obvious that Peter Berresford Ellis is a great partisan of the Celts and rather biased. Having said that, it's a very easy to read book and an excellent introduction to the Celts.
Melissa
A very good introduction to the Celts, easy to read and gives you a taste of the different members of society. Not really about the movement of the Celts across Europe or the time-line.
Jeremy
I loved this book! Lots of insights on the impact of the Celts on the early Christians, and the religious beliefs that were evident of the Celts.
Regina Hunter
One of the best ive read this year.
Jaimie
The Celtic people are one of the oldest breeds in history, so their story is a lengthy one. Thankfully, Ellis' Brief History sums it up neatly without going into an overwhelming amount of detail. He summarizes pretty much every topic needed for a complete introduction - ranging from the role of women to war practices - as well as discussing the historiography involved in his information sources (which is essential considering that the Celts were a largely oral culure during the pre-Christian era...more
Chrissy
A very enjoyable read.
Ellis presents a great deal of information in a short book without being overwhelming. Pleasantly packaged in a manner that is neither too dry or lacking in dignity.
There is a lot to chew on that I had not considered. The sheer scope of the celtic world is simply amazing (while most of us only think in terms of insular celts and Asterix).

My only misgivings about the information in the book is that the author gives SO much credit, and SO much defense to the celtic side of is...more
Lauren Albert

Concise and informative look at the early Celts. It is fact- rather than narrative-based history but the facts are often fascinating and (for me) surprising. Especially surprising to me were the links he showed between the Celts and South Asian cultures—both Indo-European, of course. Some other interesting facts that I learned—Roman roads were usually built on earlier Celtic roads which because they were constructed using wood, did not last the test of archaeological time. The Celts also began m...more
Martin
interesting but slow reading with too many facts dates names and places crammed in. i have read previously on the celts and irish mythology so for someone who hasn't so much backround then this book would probably even be a harder read and one I would not recommend as a starter book on this subject. The book however is not so long and does cover some interesting subjects and topics. The authors evident interest in his work also comes across well.
Martine
This book does what it promises: gives a brief overview of all aspects of Celtic life. It combines information from multiple discliplines: archeology, history, linguistics, to give you as broad a view as possible. Sometimes it's a bit too detailed for the casual reader, but a good and complete overview from someone who obviously knows what he's talking about. The only thing that baffles me is the last chapter, entitled 'Early Celtic History'. In part it's a rehash of earlier chapters, in part it...more
Megan
I am only giving this 2 stars because it did have very interesting facts and info in it, but that's it. This book was so hard for me to get through and as a history lover I am a little frustrated with that. This book might have been better if the author didn't try to shove so much information at you in only 200 pages. It just doesn't work.
Katrina
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nick
This might make your eyes dry up and bleed out of boredom if you're not a historian. If you are interested in history and want a nice introduction to the Celts, this would be it.
وسام الدين محمد
I am never red an interesting historical book like that before. The Celts are the most mysterious people in history and this book try to make an interpretation for their history.
James Edgar
Good read, and the writer clarifies that the Celts have been misunderstood for ages -- all because of the Roman writers making deliberate errors.
Caron Bright
one of the better celtic books if you are just curious.
Sean Downey
Sean Downey marked it as to-read
Oct 24, 2014
Beverly Anne
Beverly Anne marked it as to-read
Oct 21, 2014
Kate Van Haren
Kate Van Haren marked it as to-read
Oct 19, 2014
Sheryl
Sheryl marked it as to-read
Oct 18, 2014
Alexander
Alexander marked it as to-read
Oct 17, 2014
Linda
Linda marked it as to-read
Oct 16, 2014
Goodgollymissmolly
Goodgollymissmolly marked it as to-read
Oct 13, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 35 36 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Ancient Celts
  • In Search of Ancient Ireland: The Origins of the Irish from Neolithic Times to the Coming of the English
  • Celtic Heritage
  • Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain
  • The Celts (Penguin History)
  • The Story of the Irish Race: A Popular History of Ireland
  • Wars of the Irish Kings: A Thousand Years of Struggle, from the Age of Myth Through the Reign of Queen Elizabeth I
  • The World of the Druids
  • Pagan Celtic Britain
  • The Celts: Uncovering the Mythic and Historic Origins of Western Culture
  • The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual
  • Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions
  • A Brief History of the Vikings: The Last Pagans or the First Modern Europeans?
  • The Red-Haired Girl from the Bog: The Landscape of Celtic Myth and Spirit
  • Malachy McCourt's History of Ireland
  • Legends of the Celts
  • Dictionary of Celtic Mythology
  • Celtic Myths and Legends (Myths of the World)
79583
Peter Berresford Ellis (born 10 March 1943) is a historian, literary biographer, and novelist who has published over 90 books to date either under his own name or his pseudonyms Peter Tremayne and Peter MacAlan. He has also published 95 short stories. His non-fiction books, articles and academic papers have made him acknowledged as an authority on Celtic history and culture. Under Peter Tremayne,...more
More about Peter Berresford Ellis...
Celtic Myths and Legends The Druids A Brief History of the Druids Celtic Women: Women in Celtic Society and Literature The Celtic Empire: The First Millennium of Celtic History, 1000 BC - AD 51

Share This Book