How The Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill

How The Irish Saved Civilization

How The Irish Saved Civilization is a non-fiction historical book that tells the story of how an isolated island, too small and barbaric for the Romans to bother with, played a heroic role in saving Western civilization.

The book argues that Ireland’s conversion to Christianity was instrumental in preserving the remnants of classical culture that survived in Western Europe after the Roman Empire’s demise. It is a story of transition and movement–classical to medieval–a hinge of history that hasn’t been studied much before.

The main themes of the book are the importance of individual countries in the grand scheme of civilization, the impact of simple changes in farming, disease, control, and geography on empires, and the role of Christianity in preserving classical culture.

Useful takeaways from the book include the reminder that civilization as a whole is important, even as individual countries come and go, and the recognition of the power of literacy and learning in preserving culture.

The book also highlights the importance of adapting to changing circumstances and the resilience of human society in the face of adversity.

What I Liked

Cahill’s books are always well-written and interesting. I like how he covers topics where most Americans know the broad contours from school, but where he can go much more in depth.

What I Did Not Like

He’s not a professional historian, so he seems to take some facts a bit too far. But otherwise, the book is very engaging.

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