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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

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  253 Ratings  ·  15 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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T.J.
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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.

Todd Stockslager
Review title: For the joy of the story and the fight

Stereotypes usually start from a basis in fact, and as Irish history starts from a basis in myths and legends, so does the stereotype of the Irish as great storytellers and fighters. McCullough goes back to original sources to document the wars of Irish Kings from the mists of myths and legends to the 1601 defeat of Irish forces and their Spanish allies at the South coast siege of Kinsale.

Along the way are sightings of mermaids, Old Testament p
...more
Mary
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.
Georgene
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This is one of those books that parts of it go very fast and other parts have to be plodded through.

The names of the Irish kings were difficult for me to pronounce and keep track of because I'm not the familiar with the history of Ireland. The last section of the book is written in English that was used just before the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Personally, I'd rather read Shakespeare. However, over all, I found this book interesting and worth reading if only to catch a glimpse of Ireland's pas
...more
Jane
Nov 12, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always desperate to find more information on Irish history, I found this one at the Library. I didn't finish it and skipped many of the very early legends. I'm giving it 3 stars because it was valiantly done and, let's face it, early Irish history is awash with regional kings and constant battles with mystical overtones.
Learned a bit more about the actual Norman invasion of Ireland. Half of my Irish ancestry is old family Norman and I keep searching.
Some might find this delightfully organized.
...more
Richard
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.
Mari
Aug 10, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
May 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Paula
Feb 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: celtic
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.
Jeremy
Oct 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only made it a little past half-way before returning it to the library, but the collection of stories was very interesting.
Carrie
Jul 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I love history books, but this one was really slow for me. If you love readying actual historical manuscripts, you will love this.
Penny
Sep 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good historical documentation--enjoyed the historical documents from both sides of the wars. Propaganda, myth and poetry. Interesting.
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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.” 9 likes
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