An Irish History of Civilization: v. 1

An Irish History of Civilization: v. 1

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The grace of fiction combined with the power of historyshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 840 pages
  • 167.6 x 228.6 x 165.1mm | 1,224.71g
  • McGill-Queen's University Press
  • Montreal, Canada
  • English
  • 0773528903
  • 9780773528901

About Donald Harman Akenson

Don Akenson is the author of numerous books including Surpassing Wonder: The Invention of the Bible and the Talmuds (nominated for the Governor General's Award) and, most recently, Some Family: The Mormons and How Humanity Keeps Track of Itself. He teacheshow more

Review quote

"Don Akenson has a lengthy track-record in new approaches to history. He has already written extensively and seminally on everything that is touched upon in this book, so he has the pedigree and the intellect to withstand the criticism which will invariably come. The approach is probably too quirky for the po-faced, but will thrill most readers. It is great fun, terrifically written and down to earth: scholarship and the Irish diaspora as you have never seen them before." Marianne Elliott The Irish Times "If James Joyce had studied the Talmud as assiduously as the Odyssey and been as enamoured of Saint Paul and Saint Patrick as he was of Nora Barnacle, he might have produced as overwhelmingly mordant a work as An Irish History of Civilization - but only if he'd had Conor Cruise O'Brien and Roddy Doyle as re-write men. Don Akenson has one-upped Joyce and forged the consciousness of a race." T.F. Rigelhof, Contributing Reviewer, The Globe and Mail "Akenson's astonishing series of vignettes, mini-biographies and running jokes features Irish pirates, missionaries, colonial governors, slaves and slave owners... it mingles history and fiction, the horrifying and the hilarious... This is a very odd book, but a genuinely brilliant achievement." Stephen Howe, The Independent "Stand by to be ticker-taped by scholarship; by dazzle, wit, and amplitude of knowledge as rare as it's painless and provocative". Tom Adair, The Scotsman "There is a novel here. In fact, there are thousands... (an) inimitable bricolage of reflection, jokes and mordant ironies. It might not be every historian's cup of tea, but I relished every word." Roy Foster, The Scotsman "Historian Don Akenson's monumental work begins with Paul in 16 BC and ends with the Presidential Prayer Breakfast in Washington in 1970: Billy Graham and Richard Nixon. What's between requires four books in two volumes, divided into chapters on particular places and periods, themselves divided into numerous brief stories, each with its own point. Iconoclastic, original and eclectic, Akenson has produced a unique opus that is absorbing and entertaining, sometimes exhilarating and occasionally exhausting. The sheer vitality and mulitiplicity of these thousand and one stories produces a cumulative richness of imagery and narrative unmatched in much conventional fiction. It is an extraordinary feat of writing." Peter Hart The Globe & Mail "An Irish History of Civilization is a book like no other." Michael Enright, The Sunday Edition, CBC "While the breadth of An Irish History of Civilization is impressive, its depth is more so. Each portion deserves to be lingered over, savoured slowly, and allowed to reveal itself before fully moving on to the next." Robert J. Wiersema Quill & Quire "The stories are so absorbing that it was dangerous to begin reading the book late at night. The next thing I knew, it was close to morning and I began to develop what is known as Akenson-lag. I suspect that many other readers will have a similar experience. " David Wilson, author of Ireland, a Bicycle, and a Tin Whistle and professor of Celtic studies, St Michael's College, University of Toronto "Deliciously fresh and imaginative and a truly wondrous accomplishment from a unique and profound mind that is too lively and too quick to be bound by the limits of history or fiction." Peter Ward, professor of history, University of British Columbiashow more

Table of contents

Book One Downpatrick is the butterfly capital of the universe Prelude 1; The Discus Throwers 16-400CE; The Rope Braiders 150-400CE; The Book of the Conquests of Ireland 3000 BCE-493CE; Who Spreadest Out the Heavens 493-1493; New Worlds Seduce the Old 1488-1610; Misplaced Files 1610-1660; The Empire of the Obscure: The West Indies 1620-1667; The Mainland Colonies 1584-1690; The Empire of the Ambiguous: The West Indies 1668-1690; Glory in Some Fashion 1690-1785; The Devil's Sugar Plantation: The West Indies 1690-1785; Thirteen Is a Lucky Number 1690-1785 Book Two Kings of the wild frontiers?Off Their Knees. Ireland 1785-1830; Cry Not for Cook's Wake 1768-1793; Measuring the Land of Resentment. Australia 1785-1830; The Long White Shroud. New Zealand 1792-1830; Albion, Hibernia's Bent Old Darling 1715-1830; St. Paul Comes to Polynesia 1795-1830; The Canadas 1770-1830; The American Evolution 1785-1830; The Edge. Ireland 1830-1845; Regarding the Crown Jewel. India 1785-1845; Not the Darkest of Continents. Africa 1805-1845; The End of Easy Money. The West Indies 1800-1865; Advance Australia Fair, or Foul 1830-45; Treaty Negotiations? New Zealand 1830-1845; Pebbles in God's Hand. Polynesia 1830-1845; Neighbour. England 1830-1845; Upper Canada. Ireland's Cold Dominion 1830-1845; Compression and Expansion. The United States 1830-1845show more