All those people who know about Irish history can stop reading this now!
I’ve found that if you try to explain almost anything about Ireland, you end up saying at some point: “Well, there are historical reasons for that…”
I started off writing Irish History Compressed (the book, not the website) as a series of notes for myself as preparation for teaching a course on Northern Irish history. After a while I realised that it would be simpler to give the notes to the students so they had a general knowledge of the historical background. That meant I had to work my jottings up into some kind of presentable prose. I obsessively rewrote the text and then to make the whole thing look more attractive I started adding pictures.
So that was it. I knew that my students wouldn’t want to plough through hundreds of pages before they even began the course and I also knew that they needed this information if they were really going to understand the political and social minefield that is Northern Ireland. They need something short, to-the-point but comprehensive, and that’s what they got. The original handout was about 20 pages, if I remember correctly.
That’s 3000* years of history in under an hour of reading.
And that’s how the book began. Since I had it written, I decided to make it available to more people. I wrote a final section, bringing the story of Ireland up to the present day, added my original list of dates as an appendix and then, at the suggestion of one editor who looked at the book, wrote brief biographies of some of the main characters who appeared in it.
Reactions to it when it was published confirmed what I had hoped:
I’m flattered, but more than that I’m happy the book has helped people. It’s even been translated into other languages.
If you’re at all interested, you can get the Irish History Compressed e-book from just about any e-book retailer (this is not a Kindle-only thing!). You can read it on your tablet or your smartphone.
Still not sure?
You can even download a free sample to see if it’s the right thing for you.
Just click on the links below. You can be reading in five minutes and better informed by tomorrow.
Get it here!
“Lucid, compact and unfussy”
(Not our opinion but the verdict of an editor at HarperPress working on their series of short history titles)