Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Book On The History of Ireland: A Reader's Thoughts Partway Through The Book

Since this upcoming edition was announced back in June, I have been reading Modern Ireland, 1600-1972 by R. F. Foster (Penquin Books: London, 1989). I have not yet finished reading the book, but I can write about what I learned and about my observations of this book.

Obviously from the title, one can gather that this book is a survey of a history of Ireland from 1600 to 1972. So far, though, I have only read up to the Eighteenth Century in the book. Most of what I have been reading has been dealing with the Seventeenth Century. The prologue of the book deals with the different varieties of Irishness, and I wish I had read that part of the book earlier since it fit nicely with the previous edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture. The other chapters I have read deal with the events of the 1600s, from the politics and transplating of Protestant English and Scots to the uprising of 1641. For a survey of the history of modern Ireland, this book does get into detail about the events and major players of the events. My only problem with this book is that I feel as though one must have a general knowledge of Irish history to understand or get the feel of the book. Since I do not even have a general knowledge of Irish history, I do not have a context that I can put the details of this history in. I almost feel as though I have to be reading another, less detailed Irish history book for me to truly understand the book. The best way I can explain this is if a person happened to read a detailed history book on the history of the United States, but did not have any previous general knowledge of the history of the U. S. This is how I feel when I read this book, and I'm a history major! Aside from this criticism, I think this book would be good for a person who has a great interest in Ireland's history.

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