The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland (Oxford Illustrated Histories)

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9780198229704: The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland (Oxford Illustrated Histories)
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Few countries in the world have such a compelling, individual, and stirring history as Ireland. This new volume, the latest in the widely acclaimed Oxford Illustrated Histories series, offers the most authoritative account of Irish history yet published for the general reader. Written by an expert team of scholars--all of whom are native to Ireland--this richly illustrated work takes us from the very earliest prehistoric communities and first Christian settlements, through centuries of turbulent change and creativity, to the present day.
Unlike earlier one-volume histories, which have tended toward oversimplification, this book emphasizes the paradoxes and ambiguities of Irish history, presenting a much more realistic picture. Why, for instance, are there such intense variations in agriculture, prosperity, and political affiliation in an island that compasses such a small area? And why do Victorian norms prevail in certain areas of 20th-century Irish life? In each chapter, the author marks new paths, redefining the preoccupations of the Irish and casting a cold eye on their ruling pieties. Overall unifying themes do, of course, emerge--and provide the familiar ground of Irish historiography: the shifting patterns of settlement and colonization, the recurrent religious strife, the establishment of new political entities.
The predominance of language in Irish life has led to the creation of a literature that is, in a way, a record of Irish history. A special feature of this book is a chapter that explores the interaction of Irish history and literature, what some have called "a bloody crossroads." The conflicts, settlements, discontinuities, and unities of Irish history are illustrated with a broad range of visuals covering the landscape, artefacts, architecture, and an enormous variety of contemporary material. There are over 200 photographs, including 24 full-color plates, and the volume is completed with reference material, maps, a chronology, lists of further reading, and a full index.
Wide-ranging, challenging, and highly readable, this vivid view of Irish history will instruct and entertain students, scholars, and general readers alike.

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About the Author:


About the Editor:
R. F. Foster, Irish-born and educated, is currently Reader in History at Birkbeck College, the University of London. He is the author of Lord Randolph Churchill: A Political Life, and the authorized biography of W.B. Yeats (not yet published), as well as several other books.

Review:

`This handsome volume will make an impressive gift...an interesting, revisionist read.' Phoenix

`[a] very real achievement...generously illustrated and authoritative' Sunday Tribune

'The book, glossy and very readable ranges widely; social, cultural and economic aspects receive as much attention as politics.'
Causeway

'Well illustrated ... Remarkable value.'
Books Ireland

'admirably edited by Professor Roy Foster ... stimulating, engrossing and objective account of Irish history from earliest times to 1987 ... the contributors write with individuality, freshness and authority ... It is well researched, lively and most readable.'
Day by Day

'A wealth of information in its 381 pages.'
John Cokley, The Sunday Mail (Brisbane)

'very attractively presented, and each section is easy to read'
Farmers Journal

'an attractively presented general survey study of six comprehensive essays'
Sunday Tribune

'a lavishly illustrated comprehensive volume ... There is much in this to ponder. Lovingly produced and lavishly illustrated, it is much more than a coffee table book. It could be recommended to any Australian with a passing interest in Ireland.'

The Courier Mail (Brisbane)

'a beautiful, succinct book which lucidly shows the way through the complexities of Irish history'
James Whetter, The Cornish Banner

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FOSTER, R F (edits)
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