BOOKS

Happy St. Patrck's Day: 'How The Irish Saved Civilization' (POLL)

05/17/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day! It was the time of St. Patrick himself to which author Thomas Cahill refers in the title of his book, "How the Irish Saved Civilization." Reviews were mixed, but this title, published in the mid-1990s, was a huge bestseller, and is still strongly in print. It was the work of monks during the middle ages, claims Cahill, transcribing the classics, that kept our modern civilization alive. Whether you think the author is at his poetic best and historic worst, as reviewers on Amazon claim, you can't help but be intrigued by the title, or this first sentence: "On the last, cold day of December in the dying year we count as 406, the river Rhine froze solid, providing the natural bridge that hundreds of thousands of hungry men, women, and children had been waiting for." What do you think? Did the Irish save civilization?

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