Book reviews

November 20, 2011

Good books on Celtic history, Shane MacGowan, and what the Irish world was like when our ancestors emigrated.

The Sea Kingdoms: The History of Celtic Britain and Ireland. Alistair Moffat. Harper Collins, 2002. 316pp.

I was intrigued out on Kapiti Island a few years ago when a friend explained why the island was such a great stronghold for the Maori chief Te Rauparaha. Kapiti commanded quick and easy access from Taranaki in a huge arc down the Wanganui and Horowhenua coasts, across the top of the Marlborough Sounds to the western end of Golden Bay. With the land so densely forested the sea was not a barrier but a highway for a seafaring people such as the Maori.

Scot Alistair Moffat, in a brilliant history of Celtic Britain and Ireland, looks at his part of the world in the same way. ‘So that the dynamic of Celtic culture can be better understood,’ he writes, ‘this story needs to be seen from a vantage point not on the land, looking out to sea, but from the sea, looking towards the land.’ Read the rest of this entry »

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