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A history of Celtic culture in Britain from its origins to its transformation under the Romans and Saxons. The book describes the rise and spread of the Celts and their arrival in the British Isles around the 8th century BC. Chapters are devoted to literature and art, institutions and religion, and punctuate the historical narrative, providing insights into the Celtic way of life.

Media reviews

A history of Celtic culture in Britain from its origins to its transformation under the Romans and Saxons. The Celts possessed a self-contained and remarkable culture whose influence is by no means restricted to those parts of Britain traditionally regarded as 'Celtic'. A proud and independent
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nation developed from a number of smaller states; brilliant art and a unique way of life flourished, although the evidence of this, unfortunately, is often sketchy. A noted Celtic scholar, Nora Chadwick spent much of her life researching this field. Here she describes the rise and spread of the Celts and their arrival in the British Isles in about the eighth century BC. Chapters on their literature and art, their institutions and religion, punctuate the historical narrative and provide an illuminating insight into the Celtic way of life.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member TheBooknerd
This book is informative and interesting ... but not, in any way, entertaining. I know some might say, "Entertaining? Of course it's not entertaining. It's history." But I happen to enjoy reading history, particularly about ancient and medieval time periods. Nevertheless, this book keeps putting me
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to sleep. As fascinating as the subject material is, I'm having a hard time getting past the writing style. It's dry, filled with awkward sentence structures, and focuses on specifics that I have no interest in. Granted, others may find those specifics fascinating, so maybe I'm simply not the right audience for this book.
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LibraryThing member RMMee
I have the 2001 Folio Soicety edition of this book - a very attractive volume, which sits alongside other works in the Folio Society's same series.

The book itself is well-researched, and full of information. It is not a difficult read. However, the style of the author is really quite pedestrian,
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and as such the text didn't grip me. For someone with a desire to learn more about the Celts, this book will certainly do the trick, but there may be other, better, introductions to the subject.

The Celts was first published in 1971. But in 1997, a new introductory chapter was written by Barry Cunliffe, and it is this "new" version which is reviewed here. My comments above relate to Chapters 2 onwards. In relation to the introduction, which is an integral part of the work and not the same as introductions in most books, I remember thinking that it was all a bit too technical.

I've given it 3 stars as it is a readable and thorough book. It could so easily have had a better review though!
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LibraryThing member neurodrew
A brief history of the Celtic lands, it taught me some interesting things about the early European culture and its links with the Roman Empire and Great Britain. It attempted to present not only history but religion, especially celtic christianity, and culture. I finished this in Sept 1998; some of
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the personalities were repeated in Calendar, a book that I read just after this one.
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LibraryThing member BenjaminHahn
This was a great introduction to the history of the Celts. The chapters were divided up evenly and Chadwick seemed to be forthcoming on uncertianties in the historical records. This has served as a great primer for continued reading, especially on mythology and folklore, particularly on Ireland.
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The chapter on literature was very helpful in sketching out a map for future readings.
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LibraryThing member belgrade18
Somewhat disappointing- very repetitive, and not as interesting as I expected.
LibraryThing member charlie68
A good easy read; delving into Celtic origins, history, literature and art.

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