An Irish History of Civilization

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9780773535480: An Irish History of Civilization
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St Patrick catching sight of Ireland for the first time as he arrives as a prisoner, Joyce and Yeats eating sticky buns in a Dublin cafe. In a daring, genre-breaking work, the world's foremost scholar of the Irish diaspora fuses history and fiction into an iconoclastic chronicle of civilization through Irish eyes. From St Patrick to Woody Guthrie, Constantine to John F. Kennedy, India to the Australian outback, Don Akenson's "An Irish History of Civilization" is about the Irish at home and abroad, the great and the small, the noble and the depraved, the wise and the foolish. Akenson weaves ironic and playful historical miniatures of Irish misery, folly, and glory. Like the archetypal stories in the Talmuds, the artful fictions in "An Irish History of Civilization" are universal, big truths that require a big canvas. Akenson follows his chosen peoples on their odyssey around the globe in a story like no other, the lines between history and fiction irretrievably lost in the mists of Irish time.

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About the Author:

Don Akenson teaches history at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.

Review:

"Don Akenson has one-upped Joyce and forged the consciousness of a race." T.F. Rigelhof, The Globe and Mail "I am at a loss as to how to best invite you into Don Akenson's "micro-Talmud of humankind" ... where you will be tickled and lashed all the way from the stone-age god-kings of Knowth, circa 3000 BC, to Billy Graham at a Nixon White House prayer breakfast." John Leonard, Harper's Magazine "Great fun, terrifically written, and down to earth: scholarship and the Irish diaspora as you have never seen them before!" Marianne Elliot, The Irish Times "An Irish story presented in a Jewish form by a US-born Canadian historian of Swedish Protestant ancestry ... This is a very odd book, but a genuinely brilliant achievement." The Independent "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 Thomas D'Arcy McGee and professor of Celtic studies, St Michael's College, University of Toronto "A book like no other." Michael Enright, The Sunday Edition "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 Columbia "A remarkable achievement that brings together a lifetime of scholarship." William H. Mulligan, Murray State University, Canadian Journal of History "Well written, relentless erudite, yet at the same time humane ... a very considerable achievement." Brad Patterson "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 "An Irish History of Civilization is a global literary event constructed by a remarkable intelligence and a fine writer. Everyone ought to read it." Brian Fawcett, Books in Canada "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 --Quill and Quire

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