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The whole saga of the Irish from earliest times to the present -- the various races from the time of Firbolg and the quest and occupation by the Milesians Spain through the various invasions; history, culture, religion, laws, arts, ties, folklore, trade, literature, heroes Fein, Easter Uprising, etc. Sketches a rough and ready picture of the more prominent peaks that rise The whole saga of the Irish from earliest times to the present -- the various races from the time of Firbolg and the quest and occupation by the Milesians Spain through the various invasions; history, culture, religion, laws, arts, ties, folklore, trade, literature, heroes Fein, Easter Uprising, etc. Sketches a rough and ready picture of the more prominent peaks that rise out of Ireland's past-the high spots in the story of the Irish race. Written especially for the American reader (whom the author found to be as unknowing about Ireland's past as about the past of Borneo)... --alibris ... 'Indispensable for anyone who wants to understand the Irish people--their political struggle, their magnificent literature, and their whole great contribution to Western Civilization, a contribution amazing in its richness and variety." --from jacket flap.


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The whole saga of the Irish from earliest times to the present -- the various races from the time of Firbolg and the quest and occupation by the Milesians Spain through the various invasions; history, culture, religion, laws, arts, ties, folklore, trade, literature, heroes Fein, Easter Uprising, etc. Sketches a rough and ready picture of the more prominent peaks that rise The whole saga of the Irish from earliest times to the present -- the various races from the time of Firbolg and the quest and occupation by the Milesians Spain through the various invasions; history, culture, religion, laws, arts, ties, folklore, trade, literature, heroes Fein, Easter Uprising, etc. Sketches a rough and ready picture of the more prominent peaks that rise out of Ireland's past-the high spots in the story of the Irish race. Written especially for the American reader (whom the author found to be as unknowing about Ireland's past as about the past of Borneo)... --alibris ... 'Indispensable for anyone who wants to understand the Irish people--their political struggle, their magnificent literature, and their whole great contribution to Western Civilization, a contribution amazing in its richness and variety." --from jacket flap.

30 review for The Story of the Irish Race: A Popular History of Ireland

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    i found a $20 bill on page 100 while looking at it at powells bookstore, so i bought it

  2. 5 out of 5

    Thedailyloaf

    I first read this book in 1984 (I was 14). this was the first book I ever read on Irish history. I found it engrossing, if at times rather exaggerated. over the years I have read quite a bit of Irish history and keeping coming back to this every once in awhile. of course, it is a bit "propagandist" concerning several subjects. particularly the famine period of 1844-48. it's not that the information is necessarily false, it's simply that the information is certainly told from an unwaveringly Natio I first read this book in 1984 (I was 14). this was the first book I ever read on Irish history. I found it engrossing, if at times rather exaggerated. over the years I have read quite a bit of Irish history and keeping coming back to this every once in awhile. of course, it is a bit "propagandist" concerning several subjects. particularly the famine period of 1844-48. it's not that the information is necessarily false, it's simply that the information is certainly told from an unwaveringly Nationalist point of view. when one considers that: A) this was written in the aftermath of the Irish Civil War by a man who served in the resistance B) the title states "A Popular History of Ireland" this is in fact a great resource in understanding where Nationalistic Ireland is coming from to this day. yes, it's "propaganda" to a degree. however, while I understand those of the pro-Loyalist persuasion will undoubtedly pan this work as part of a pan-Nationalist conspiracy, it's invaluable in immersing the reader in a passionate, well argued point of view. it spans the entire scope, from prehistory until 1922. the sections on pre-Norman Irish civilization are (for lack of a better adjective) 'effin' awesome. McManus sums up Cuchulain, Fionn Macumhail, Irish-Celtic Christianity, the Tuatha de Dannan, Vikings etc in a relatively easy narrative. sometimes a bit choppy, his info is mostly taken from contemporary sources, with lots of quotes and footnotes throughout, the entire read is absolutely rollicking in "Paddy Fever". I would strongly suggest this read for a beginner newly delving into Irish history, as well as for anyone with an interest into Irish Nationalism

  3. 4 out of 5

    P.J. Sullivan

    Irish history emerges from misty legends. This book sifts for facts among the fables. Invaders and powerful kings make up much of the early narrative, as it was they who left historical footprints. Tribal Ireland needed powerful kings to form a united front against foreign invaders. Indeed, Ireland was invaded and colonized so many times from so many directions that it is hard to say for sure who the Irish are. It is a story marked by wars, famines, persecutions, and widespread suffering. Saints Irish history emerges from misty legends. This book sifts for facts among the fables. Invaders and powerful kings make up much of the early narrative, as it was they who left historical footprints. Tribal Ireland needed powerful kings to form a united front against foreign invaders. Indeed, Ireland was invaded and colonized so many times from so many directions that it is hard to say for sure who the Irish are. It is a story marked by wars, famines, persecutions, and widespread suffering. Saints and scholars enter the narrative, followed by freedom fighters and Fenians. At times this book becomes a litany of atrocities committed against the Irish, but that's the way it was. This is the Irish experience to about 1920. Did you know that the Irish invaded England? That Christianity was established in Ireland before St. Patrick arrived? That the Renaissance began in Ireland? That Irish monks were in North America centuries before Columbus? That wearing a moustache was punishable by death under the English penal laws? That the Irish were more fluent in Latin than in English? That it was unchivalrous to wage war before the enemy was ready? This is a big book, not a quick or easy read, but it can be read piecemeal. It covers a lot of ground, from Irish customs and costumes to arts and crafts, poetry, trade and manufacture, politics, laws, education, religion, monasticism, the status of women, etc. It could benefit from artful condensation and better organization. It may be too detailed for some readers. Bias? Yes, but it does not obscure the facts … or the fables.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shannon McDermott

    On the first page of this book, the author calls it a "crude compendium" and "a rough and ready sketch." Perhaps so, but at 725 pages and a historical span of nearly three thousand years, it is quite a sketch. To his credit, the author makes no pretensions to neutrality. He declares on the first page that the purpose of this rough and ready sketch is to provide a history of Ireland for her people and exiles (and descendants of those exiles - of whom I am one). This is a book of the Irish, by the On the first page of this book, the author calls it a "crude compendium" and "a rough and ready sketch." Perhaps so, but at 725 pages and a historical span of nearly three thousand years, it is quite a sketch. To his credit, the author makes no pretensions to neutrality. He declares on the first page that the purpose of this rough and ready sketch is to provide a history of Ireland for her people and exiles (and descendants of those exiles - of whom I am one). This is a book of the Irish, by the Irish, and for the Irish. A more rigorous book might have been written, as the author acknowledges at the outset. The opening chapters consist greatly of speculation about the historical basis of Irish legends, especially those of the Tuatha De Danann. The later chapters are strong and unequivocal in their anti-British viewpoint. They are not, however, hateful. (And reading the accounts of Britain's conquest and keeping of Ireland - including atrocities of murder, rape, and torture - and the ruthless self-interest with which Great Britain ruled the Irish, and the oppressive laws with which it sought to disenfranchise and degrade an entire people ... well, I could see why many of the Irish have hated the English. I felt I could come to hate them myself.*) The book's clear Irish viewpoint, once recognized, is valuable in understanding the Irish viewpoint. There is also a kind of richness that flows from this viewpoint, from reading of Ireland from someone who loves Ireland. The author's pleasure in the lore and songs and poetry of Ireland, his love of it through every defeat and misfortune, his delight in its glories - all of this shines through the pages. The author may well be biased (and his expressed opinions are, of course, not infallible). Yet this is not propaganda. The author means to provide history. He recounts events that reflect poorly on the Irish and provides support for anti-English or pro-Irish statements from sources that have no bias in favor of Ireland (and perhaps some in favor of England). This book is flavored with deep emotion, sharpened with strong opinions. It is also filled with apt quotations, powerful details, and colorful sketches of great characters. The author shows great skill in what he chooses to relate and how, and wholly avoids the dryness that comes of too much attention to statistics and too little attention to the individual stories that make up the great arc of history. The Story of the Irish Race is not a definitive history of Ireland, but probably no single book could be. Whatever its limits, it is written with respect for the truth and love for Ireland. It reprises Irish history too little known in America and reflects the Irish spirit that has so doggedly resisted domination down through the centuries. And it quotes poetry in the footnotes and sometimes in the text itself. What more could you want? *In case the tone of this statement is misunderstood, let me clarify: I don't hate the English.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    As one review said, this book is written for Americans who know dittily about Irish history, myself included.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lucinda Reed-Nowland

    Not a light, easy read, although it is easier to read than any history text I have had to tackle. I am reading this for pleasure, and it is an enjoyable book. It is written in a fast paced, novel-like style, but it is very involved and will take a while to finish.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    When Cuchulain goes into a killing rage, his lower legs turn around backwards, one eye sinks into his head, the other sticks out like a horn, his hair sticks up straight into hard spikes. Though normally he's a kind of good looking guy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    ✨Sumi's Books✨

    This was a very good read. The author presents their points in an easy-to-follow manner instead of listing years and numbers and droning on. MacManus instead writes the information in a narrative and this makes it a much better read in my opinion. It is very obvious that the author has researched all their information as their writing flows effortlessly from point to point. The information was great to read. I definitely learned a few new things about the Irish Race. I would definitely recommend This was a very good read. The author presents their points in an easy-to-follow manner instead of listing years and numbers and droning on. MacManus instead writes the information in a narrative and this makes it a much better read in my opinion. It is very obvious that the author has researched all their information as their writing flows effortlessly from point to point. The information was great to read. I definitely learned a few new things about the Irish Race. I would definitely recommend this book to all who are interested in Celts, Ireland, or general history.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kelley

    After two years of off and on reading this book I finally decided to just finish it! Despite being a history book it is an interesting read, especially for someone who knows their ancestors were Irish. I feel like this book opened my eyes to the hardships that the Irish have had to endure, and I wonder why their plight isn't taught hand-in-hand with the holocaust in school.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Donovan Walker

    An _excellent_ book for those wanting to get a broad overview of Irish history. I read this about ten years ago. I picked it up and 'only put it down to eat'. If you have any Irish blood, it'll leaving you feeling like a nationalist.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Emer Mccarthy

    Beautiful book which I return to frequently

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kevin O'Brien

    If you only ever read one book on the Irish history this would be an excellent choice. Originally written in 1921 as the Irish Uprising turned into the Irish Civil War, it was intended in part to explain just what all of the issues were. But it is also a work of a master storyteller, and if there is anything the Irish are known for it is story telling. McManus goes all the way back to the stories of the Tuatha De Danaan, a semi-mythical race of gods who invaded Ireland shortly after 2000 B.C. ac If you only ever read one book on the Irish history this would be an excellent choice. Originally written in 1921 as the Irish Uprising turned into the Irish Civil War, it was intended in part to explain just what all of the issues were. But it is also a work of a master storyteller, and if there is anything the Irish are known for it is story telling. McManus goes all the way back to the stories of the Tuatha De Danaan, a semi-mythical race of gods who invaded Ireland shortly after 2000 B.C. according to the annals. And then he traces the history forward, through the Druids of the centuries BC, St. Patrick and the Christianization of Ireland, and finally the horrible oppressions of the English. This is a book written as a story, not as a scholarly work of history, and is quite accessible. McManus wrote this in large part for Irish-Americans whom he found found woefully lacking in knowledge of Irish history. I originally read this as physical book, but it is now available on Amazon as a Kindle book for only $.99. Kind of hard to go too far wrong at that price.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Murtha

    Every little Irish shop in america seemed to sell this book when I was growing up, and I got a copy as a gift from my mother at the time. I never got around to reading it then and the book itself is long gone, but I'm finally reading the text as an ebook. Unfortunately, neither the tone (unabashedly uncritical and ahistorical) nor the style (unnecessarily convoluted) have worn at all well since the book's initial publication almost a hundred years ago. Here is an example of the tortured prose: "E Every little Irish shop in america seemed to sell this book when I was growing up, and I got a copy as a gift from my mother at the time. I never got around to reading it then and the book itself is long gone, but I'm finally reading the text as an ebook. Unfortunately, neither the tone (unabashedly uncritical and ahistorical) nor the style (unnecessarily convoluted) have worn at all well since the book's initial publication almost a hundred years ago. Here is an example of the tortured prose: "Even of Fursa's servant, St. Maguille, the memory is honoured at St. Riquier, where is his holy well, and where, more than four centuries after, and again four centuries after that, his body was enshrined in a very precious shrine, and re-enshrined with ecclesiastical honours." Tolerant though I usually am of historical styles, I cannot see this as anything other than a failed attempt at "fine writing."

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sean Hackbarth

    It's an old history of Ireland–going through the 1916 Easter Uprising, so nothing about what happened during most of the 20th Century. Also, it's very slanted towards the Irish. There is nothing Britain could do right. Everything was about Irish oppression. Yet the slant was refreshing. It helped establish a tone of pride that radiates throughout the book. Ireland has a long history involving not only tragedy and pain, but philosophy, art, religion, and culture. Sure, it was a slog to get through, It's an old history of Ireland–going through the 1916 Easter Uprising, so nothing about what happened during most of the 20th Century. Also, it's very slanted towards the Irish. There is nothing Britain could do right. Everything was about Irish oppression. Yet the slant was refreshing. It helped establish a tone of pride that radiates throughout the book. Ireland has a long history involving not only tragedy and pain, but philosophy, art, religion, and culture. Sure, it was a slog to get through, but get through it I did. It gave me a taste of the rich history the Irish possess.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    This is not a book for someone who, like me, has only a mild interest in Irish history, and absolutely no background. The old-fashioned writing, almost circular in the ancient history part of the book, it was difficult for me to follow. And the author’s very biased pro-Ireland viewpoint was frustrating when I was seeking some sort of context or balance. Still, I did learn a few things. Perhaps enough to make me want to read a book about Ireland that will give me an actual history, and not this o This is not a book for someone who, like me, has only a mild interest in Irish history, and absolutely no background. The old-fashioned writing, almost circular in the ancient history part of the book, it was difficult for me to follow. And the author’s very biased pro-Ireland viewpoint was frustrating when I was seeking some sort of context or balance. Still, I did learn a few things. Perhaps enough to make me want to read a book about Ireland that will give me an actual history, and not this one-sided poetic nonsense.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Janessa

    DNF-ing at this point, but I read through the section I figured I would most enjoy (through Vikings and Cromwell). The writing is too dry for me to go further than the periods I am interested in. I did enjoy the first half for the most part, and I pulled bits and pieces that I found highly interesting, but this is an extremely dry history, good in small doses, but an investment I'm not willing to give to actually finish.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jean Kelly

    If you are interested in an objective history of Ireland this isn't it. But it is a very readable and impassionate story of Ireland and it's efforts to gain independence from British rule.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Forrest

    A must read for anyone interested in the legendary and TRUE history of the Irish people. MacManus begins all the way back with the Tuatha De Danann and their triumph over the Fomorians.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shanna

    So this book was very well written in my opinion. The chapters were relatively short, which made reading a bit easier, and the breakdown of information could have been done a bit better, but this was overall a good book. There were a lot of parts that I knew (or knew variants of), which was nice for me to read and see a different perspective (albeit slightly) on these stories.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    I started reading this book about 10 years ago, but never got past the first couple of chapters. I'm not sure why, but I think it had to do mainly with the author's stilted and grandiose language, making it seem more like a propaganda work (which it surely was, being written during the Irish Civil War) than a serious scholarly work. But with our return to Ireland for two weeks in 2008, I decided to give it another try. The ancient part of the history is pretty engrossing--tales of Cuchulainn and I started reading this book about 10 years ago, but never got past the first couple of chapters. I'm not sure why, but I think it had to do mainly with the author's stilted and grandiose language, making it seem more like a propaganda work (which it surely was, being written during the Irish Civil War) than a serious scholarly work. But with our return to Ireland for two weeks in 2008, I decided to give it another try. The ancient part of the history is pretty engrossing--tales of Cuchulainn and Irish knights and poets and kings and bards, all told in a high style that makes ancient Ireland seem like a fairytale idyll. The part dealing with the Norman invasion and Cromwell is gripping too, but the author's (understandably) anti-English bias starts to get in the way of the narrative at this point. This only gets worse as we read about the Famine, the Land Bill years, and finally the Easter Rising and formation of the Irish Free Street. For me, the last few chapters was a race to finish the story so I could get away from the jingoistic drumbeat of Irish moral superiority and victimhood (and I say this as a fan of most things Irish!). As a work of propaganda, this book is progressively heavy-handed and quaint, an early version of the art that was perfected later in the 20th Century by Goebbels and Mikhailov. As a history it is suspect but sufficient to whet the reader's appetite for more balanced works on the subject. It's also a great primer on Irish poetry and literature.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    It begins with ancient oral history and ends in the 1920's. Beautiful written and comprehensive history of ancient Ireland to early 20th century Ireland and it's connection to much of the rest of the world. Ireland was invaded, but never conquered by any country except Brittan and even then the people were never conquered. The atrocities committed by those attempting to commit genocide is heart rending. Seumas MacManus tells Irish history from the heart of an Irishman. Everyone should read this It begins with ancient oral history and ends in the 1920's. Beautiful written and comprehensive history of ancient Ireland to early 20th century Ireland and it's connection to much of the rest of the world. Ireland was invaded, but never conquered by any country except Brittan and even then the people were never conquered. The atrocities committed by those attempting to commit genocide is heart rending. Seumas MacManus tells Irish history from the heart of an Irishman. Everyone should read this book because without this knowledge what happened in Ireland will happen someplace else.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Corey

    This book was written only 2 years after Ireland obtained its independence from Britain, and it loudly trumpets the greatness of Ireland's history. No attempt is made at objectivity. I respect his pride in all things Irish, and I believe he does a good job giving Ireland credit for much that had been long neglected. MacManus is a good story teller and Ireland has a grand story to tell. All in all a good read. My wife and I enjoyed seeing his house last summer near Donegal, which sparked our inte This book was written only 2 years after Ireland obtained its independence from Britain, and it loudly trumpets the greatness of Ireland's history. No attempt is made at objectivity. I respect his pride in all things Irish, and I believe he does a good job giving Ireland credit for much that had been long neglected. MacManus is a good story teller and Ireland has a grand story to tell. All in all a good read. My wife and I enjoyed seeing his house last summer near Donegal, which sparked our interest in this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This is an interesting book about the Celts, Picts, Romans Christians, everybody who ever was on the Isle of Erin! It reads like a textbook, and reminded me of several Middle English books I read during college. Not in a bad way, just not an easy read-informative. I liked the old Breton Lays included and the history of St. Patrick. But it took me forever to get through since it was more for informational purposes than pleasure. Well, written, long-winded and really interesting.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    I read this book years ago pre-GoodReads, but came across it in my bookcase this week. This is a comprehensive history of Ireland and it's inhabitants and cultures. While it may not be for everyone, if you have Irish blood, this is all part of your heritage and you will probably find at least parts of this story to be interesting and make you even prouder to have Irish ancestors.

  25. 5 out of 5

    David

    If you have Irish blood in you like me, you might feel like Luke if he had read Ben Kenobi's history of the Empire instead of meeting him. If Tatooine was America, and it really was too late to do anything about the Death Star. This man was the last of the Irish Jedi, whose power was story telling.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    Pedantic approach but intersting and complete history of the Irish People

  27. 5 out of 5

    S.A.

    A great resource guide for little details.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    A hard read, but worth it for the in-depth history.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    I found it informative. It went on for too long about the men who were missionaries, but in all an excellent book on Irish history.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Bass

    Wonderful book, written for those of us with immigrant ancestors from Ireland, it is especially insightful! Highly recommend.

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