By Thomas Cahill
I was attracted to this book because my middle name is Doyle, and if my Irish ancestors saved civilization, I wanted to learn about it! Cahill tells the story of this little-known "hinge" of history in a scholarly and entertaining way. In the fifth century, as the Roman Empire fell to the barbarian hordes, Saint Patrick was bringing Christianity to Ireland. Irish monks spent generations recording their own ancient stories as well as copying Greco-Roman literature. Then they brought that learning back to Europe, as they founded monasteries in places that became the great university cities of Medieval Europe.