From the fall of Rome to the rise of Charlemagne—the “Dark Ages”—learning, scholarship, and culture all but vanished from the European continent. Thomas Cahill brings this pivotal era vibrantly back to life. He argues that had it not been for the holy men and women of unconquered Ireland, the great heritage of Western civilization would have been utterly lost. Cahill takes students back to the “island of saints and scholars,” the Ireland of St. Patrick and the Book of Kells. With the return of stability in Europe, these Irish scholars were instrumental in the spread of learning. Thus the Irish not only were the conservators of civilization, but became the shapers of the medieval mind.
“A lovely and engrossing tale. . . . Graceful and instructive." —Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times
“Cahill’s lively prose breathes life into a 1,600-year-old history.” —The Boston Globe
“Mr. Cahill’s book will remain an entirely engaging, delectable voyage into th edistant past, a small treasure.” —New York Times
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Thomas Cahill is the author of Desire of the Everlasting Hills and The Gifts of the Jews. He divides his time between New York City and Rome.