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Wars of the Irish Kings: A Thousand Years of Struggle, from the Age of Myth through the Reign of Queen Elizabeth I
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Wars of the Irish Kings: A Thousand Years of Struggle, from the Age of Myth through the Reign of Queen Elizabeth I

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  143 ratings  ·  11 reviews
For the first thousand years of its history, Ireland was shaped by its monasteries and its wars. The artistic flourishing of the monasteries has received a good deal of attention, but the violent and varied wars have in recent years gone unremembered. In Wars of the Irish Kings, David Willis McCullough has turned back to the earliest accounts of these struggles to present...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published May 12th 2010 by Broadway Books (first published October 3rd 2000)
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I had a professor in college that told me that life is too short to read bad books. I wish I had listened to her.
I was hoping for a popular history of ancient and medieval Ireland, but this is really a compendium of primary source documents.

Rather than tell the story of Ireland's High Kings and legendary heroes in a compelling narrative, this book more or less anthologizes older works like The Book of Howth, the Annals of the Four Masters, and other medieval manuscripts. It's worthy material, but not engrossing.

I can't say that it is a boring book, but I can't seem to stay interested. The translations maintain an archaic style without being unclear, and the explanations are interesting, but the subject is exactly what the title says, and I'm just not feeling it.
This book is a collection of first hand accounts and other writings, the quality of the writing varied greatly. The account of the siege and battle of Kinsale that closed the book was great and really brought that event to life. Also superior were some of the mythological accounts early in the book. The middle portion of the book dragged as participants seem to have only so many ways to describe large sword battles that they were a part of.
This collection of original stories regarding the battle for power in Ireland, recorded by monks, is hit-or-miss. Some of the original texts provide fascinating insight or a great flair for storytelling while others are dull – or extremely dull. The introductions and explanations are concise, well-written, and spark interest but the book is uneven overall.
Scott Smith
Are you interested in reading a book of manuscripts and historical accounts of wars fought in Ireland from pre-medieval days to the Renaissance? Do you like lots of cool sounding names, like Hasculf MacTorkel, the Viking king of Dublin? Well have I got a book for you!
If you aren't into that sort of thing, you might not like it all that much.
Ayne Ray
A fascinating look at Ireland's long and storied struggle against conquerors during its first thousand years, evoking myths, stories, legends, and recorded history to create a vivid portrait of a land steeped in a rich oral and written tradition.

I love history books, but this one was really slow for me. If you love readying actual historical manuscripts, you will love this.
Good historical documentation--enjoyed the historical documents from both sides of the wars. Propaganda, myth and poetry. Interesting.
Only made it a little past half-way before returning it to the library, but the collection of stories was very interesting.
Really informative.
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“...early medieval Ireland sounds like a somewhat crazed Wisconsin, in which every dairy farm is an armed camp at perpetual war with its neighbors, and every farmer claims he is a king.” 4 likes
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