History of Ireland

Genre: Nonfiction, History; Author: Malachy McCourt; Publisher: Running Press

Do we really need another history of the Emerald Isle? Yes, if it’s as entertaining as this one. Actor/author Malachy McCourt boasts a brisk style that manages to educate without descending into stuffy academia. Sure, you’ve got the Norman invasion, the endless British oppression, and 1972’s notorious Bloody Sunday, but what sets McCourt’s version apart are his mini-biographies of famous Irishmen from St. Patrick to republican martyr James Connolly, poet William Butler Yeats to prime minister Bertie Ahern – right down to Bono (who we’re told took his nickname from a brand of hearing aids). In short, History of Ireland reads like it’s coming from the fellow sipping a pint on the next bar stool.

Originally posted September 24 2004 — 12:00 AM EDT

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