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St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography
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St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  174 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Ireland's patron saint has long been shrouded in legend: he drove the snakes out of Ireland; he triumphed over Druids and their supernatural powers; he used a shamrock to explain the Christian mystery of the Trinity. But his true story is more fascinating than the myths. We have no surviving image of Patrick, but we do have two remarkable letters that he wrote about himsel ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published March 17th 2004 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2004)
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Michael Gerald Dealino
An easy-to-read bio of one of the greatest saints in Church history, St. Patrick is a fine example of the greatness a person can rise up to despite the trials and tribulations. And that greatness is not only for oneself, but also for the greater good of society and the greater glory of God.
Richard Duncan
I enjoyed this book. It explains the sacrifice Patrick made to go from a privileged life in Britain on a life-long mission to Ireland where he had once been taken as a slave. He evangelized among a tribal, pagan people and planted churches.

The book helped me appreciate Patrick's intimacy with God, his courage, and his fruitfulness in ministry. I am inspired to follow Christ more closely. He was a true missionary and an example for today's church.

For me, it didn't read like a biography usually
A good basic outline… very well done!
This was a pretty "historical" biography - lots of information about relationships between Britain and Ireland including ethnic slavery and military rivalries, the history of Celts and the influence of Druids and Romans, pre-Christian religion, the early history of Christianity and its spread into Britain and Ireland, etc. I found it fascinating, though I didn't agree with all the interpretations of early Christianity.

Patrick was born in Roman Britain in the 4th century, but was kidnapped by sla
This is a biography at its heart but also a history lesson. We have today only two letters than can be confidently attributed to St. Patrick, and they're copies dating to hundreds of years after they were composed. Teasing a 200 page book out of 23 pages of primary source material is a challenge met in this case with a lot of contextual information about Britain, Ireland, the Roman Empire and the state of the Church in that era.

The story of the conversion of Ireland contains a lot more than St.
This is not a long, comprehensive biography of St. Patrick. Rather, it is an overview of the world he lived in and a summary of what his life may have been like. There are only two extant writings by Patrick himself, and so little concrete history from Britain and Ireland at this time. Therefore, I appreciated that Freeman kept it simple, not trying to force the thin record of St. Patrick into unsupported conclusions. Freeman does, however, craft a logical and interesting narrative. He also prov ...more
I was very impressed by Philip Freeman's biography of St. Patrick.
The research was clear and quite thorough, relying heavily on two of St. Patrick's own letters. Freeman also gave an extensive overview of Ireland during the time of St. Patrick in order to give historical context, and to separate the man from the myth. The only disappointment that I had was Freeman's hermaneutic/apparent starting point of "none of the myths/miracle stories can be true, because the miraculous is not credible." Ho
Andrew Brozyna
Like most people I knew only two things about St. Patrick: he drove the snakes out of Ireland, and his day is a time for drinking vast amounts of alcohol (whether you're Irish or not). Last month I read online somewhere that Patrick was a Romano-British patrician kidnapped by Irish raiders in the 4th century. After 6 years as a slave he escaped, returned home to Britain, trained to become a priest, then traveled back to preach to the Irish. Intrigued, I went to, typed in "St. Patrick" ...more
Mike Ogilvie
St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography does a pretty good job of interweaving the few facts that are actually known about St. Patrick with a historical backdrop to give us in part a factual history and in part a conjectured picture of his life.

It seems that most if not all of the facts of his life are taken from two surviving letters (well, they survive as copies of copies). One is a letter to a British citizen who had killed and captured some of St. Patrick's followers in a slave raid on Ireland.
Bob Price
Of course, around St. Patrick's day, my thoughts begin to drift towards Ireland and the saint whose day we celebrate.

St. Patrick of Ireland provides a basic overall introduction to the life and writings of St. Patrick.

St. Patrick is a man shrouded in mystery, and as such people know more about the legends associated with him than the actual history concerning him.

Gone are the snakes and the legends of Patrick confronting Satan on the Hill of Tara. Instead, we focus in on the Confessions and P
Remarkable and informative short biography of St. Patrick. It combines history, archaeology, religion, spirituality and ancient studies to piece together what little we know of the man. Fascinating, and highly recommend.
Very readable and authentic. Philip gave a very good background of Irish culture in St. Patrick's day (5th century AD), which goes a long way toward understanding the world Patrick faced. I was very impressed by the book. It's a very quick read, which is refreshing considering what I've been reading recently. It sticks closely to the few things we do know about Patrick, so while it feels authentic, it's rather lacking in details: I don't feel like I have a good knowledge of what Patrick really d ...more
I enjoyed this biography of St. Patrick and most especially appreciated the historical placement. I found this book easier to digest than another I read simply because of the presentation of information, and a quick course in the state of the Roman Empire in Britain around the time of Patrick's birth. There was a lot of cultural and time placement in the book before a presentation of some aspect of Patrick's life was given for me it helps to retain the information so I don't get a lot of facts f ...more
The author's tone got a little tired after a while, but I loved the historical context we were given.
A profitable read, accessible and interesting. A close look at the remarkable life and faith of St. Patrick of Ireland as revealed through his only surviving writings, with all the shamrock nonsense stripped away. Provides a thorough context of his life and times -- the social, political, and religious backdrop of Britain and Ireland during the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, loosely contiguous with the life of St. Augustine of Hippo. Well worth reading.
This short book is a very good biography of St. Patrick. Using St. Patrick's surviving written work, Letter to Coroticus and Confession, Freeman paints of picture of what Patrick experienced in the late Roman Empire -- and as a slave and then bishop to the Irish. Freeman provides good historical background about Rome, the church and Ireland; and judicious interpretations and extrapolations from the written works. I highly recommend.
David Culver
This is a great look not only into the life of Patrick, but into the times he lived as well. Because we know so little about this man, we have to look into history to see the lifestyle that he could have lived.

Of all the book, I really enjoyed reading Patrick's words the most in his Confession, included at the end of the book.
Dave Hornor
I found Freeman's presentation of Patrick somewhat flat. This is a thorough presentation, but Patrick doesn't "come alive" under Freeman's pen. I did enjoy Freeman's translations of Patrick's two extant letters. Patrick's voice shone forth and I felt a connection to this great missionary of the 5th century church.
Loved this book. I thought it was great that it actually had the two known letters that St. Patrick wrote in the back of the book. It was great to have the opportunity to read them. It was also good to learn some of the history of what was going on at the time when he was there. Great book.
Brad Henderson
Not the biography I was hoping fact, much of the book deals with other things than Patrick. Probably should have been titled "St. Patrick's Ireland," which seems more accurate. Still, an informative book that helped me build a better foundation of my understanding of Celtic Christianity.
A little dry, as I already had some knowledge of Patrick, but it was easy to read and interesting. This book for history-lovers who don't want academic tomes. It left me wanting to know much more about Patrick because the centuries-long legacy of his commitment to bring Christianity to Ireland.
Tami Kirkpatrick
This book affected me in profound ways. It began my journey of searching the Christian faith and its ancient roots…and it really messed with my whole "i've got this figured out" attitude. Thank you St Patrick. I will never be the same and am so grateful.
Jera Gunther
I'm actually not quite done with this book, but I should finish it soon. I didn't know much about St. Patrick and wanted to learn a bit. I'm very glad I didn't live in the 4th and 5th centuries despite the presence of good men like St. Patrick.
The author has several interesting views about the relationship of the Middle Ages/Dark Ages, the Roman Catholic Church, and Patrick. I found it intriguing. The bibliography at the end really caught my interest.
Love this story of St Patrick. It is had to underestimate how significant he was for Irish history. He seperates legend from fact without robbing St. Patrick of his personality and impact. A truly amazing life.
Trey Meadows
decent biography of this misunderstood person of history. more about the period history that Patrick because little is actually know about the man. easily read book.
Debbie Montzingo
Interesting in some ways, but so much of the history is based on fragmentary or contextual evidence that what we actually know about Patrick himself remains shadowy.
Well thought-out biography, includes the letters written by St. Patrick in the back of the book. Resources are also a plus.
Daniel Alvers
This is an easy to read biography of the life of Patrick. I enjoyed it a great deal and think anyone would.
R. Cathy
Intriguing ! He should be remembered for his Christian mission, not for snake chasing.
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I teach Classics and Celtic studies at Luther College in the beautiful little town of Decorah, Iowa. I did my doctoral work at Harvard and taught at Boston University and Washington University in St. Louis before coming to Luther to help run the Classics department. I love teaching and see my writing as an extension of my work in the classroom. I hope you enjoy the books as much as I enjoyed writi ...more
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