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The Oxford History of Ireland
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The Oxford History of Ireland

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  113 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Under the editorship of R.F. Foster, a team of distinguished Irish historians has produced a challenging assessment of Ireland's history, for the student and general reader alike. Their approach stresses the ancient, rooted nature of Irish culture, but also looks beyond received ideas of Irish history to explore the patterns of fragmentation and change which have been char ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published December 27th 2001 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1989)
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Sean Lynch
A long, sweeping ride through the history of Ireland starting in the prehistoric era and passing the barbarian tribes and kingships of the Middle Ages, the Norman Invasion, the Ascendancy, and finally ending up in modern-day Ireland, the Oxford History of Ireland covers a lot of ground. Unfortunately, much of the writing is snoozy and the big, important arcs of history are camouflaged in a landscape rife with weeds, an overwhelming surplus of facts of minor importance to the reader not writing a ...more
The collaborative effort of six scholars, this history covers Ireland’s history from the prehistoric period to 1989, when the book was published. It has many illustrations but is far more than simply a “picture book.” The differences in style among the authors is a bit disconcerting, and for the years before 1500 the reader can become bewildered by the continually shifting political loyalties among huge number of minor Gaelic leaders, but beginning with the opening of the sixteen century, patter ...more
A thorough and enlightening explanation of the major episodes in Irish history. I think this book would probably be best if combined with other reading material, say, in a college course. Not having a knowledgable source available to ask my questions of, I had to resort to googling things I was unfamiliar with. A glossary would have been useful. Overall, comprehensive and worth reading if you want to invest the time and energy into learning about Irish history.
The first few sections on Prehistoric Ireland and Early Christian Ireland are interesting, but the chapters that follow are fairly dry. The Troubles in the 1970s and the Cromwellian conquest are neglected, and the author glosses over the Great Famine.

This book is best used as a complement to other books on Ireland, not as a subsitute.
somewhere in the first 50 pages Foster refers to mercenaries as 'ubiquitous'...but actually we don't see many of them. Cromwell is also dismissed rather quickly.
At the same time, points of this history are very detailed--the early period especially so-- but it still manages to get at some of the greater arcs of Irish history
Very illluminating. The chapter written by editor Mr Foster is far and away the most evocative and compelling and clear
An excellent book, the standout contribution being Declan Kiberd's chapter on Irish literature.
Great reference book, easy to dip into for information. Some day I'll read the entire volume...
Too many facts and figures (and opinion) without much depth.
dry but informative
Apr 12, 2008 Kelly rated it 3 of 5 stars
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Robert Fitzroy Foster, PhD, FBA, FRHistS, FRSL.
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