Eyfríðr’s Celtic Book Reviews

Copyist-illuminator. Mid-15th Century. Public domain in the US

Three short book reviews by Lady Eyfríðr Geirsdóttir

Here are my reviews for the first three books of my Celtic research project. I’ve tried to describe the book itself and then my personal thoughts on it — Eyfríðr

The Celts, by Barry Cunliffe

A broad approach to Celtic history, focusing mainly on the late Iron Age and beyond with emphasis on interactions with Rome and linguistics.

Eyfríðr says:  Great for an overall view of the Celtic world, and a nice starting point for research and clarification.

The Origins of the Irish, by JP Mallory

JP Mallory gives himself a valid criticism:  “This book may well be criticized for focusing so much attention on assessing the various hypotheses for immigration into Ireland….and not devoting much space to exploring the genius of the Irish (or Irelanders) in developing their own cultural identity.” There are many theories and not many facts when it comes to the origins of the Irish.

Eyfríðr says:  Essentially just theories of immigration. That information overall was good, the author had a few funny quips, but on the whole his ‘tone’ as a writer came across as quite self-satisfied, which was off-putting for an informational text. 

Archaeology and Celtic Myth: An Exploration, by John Waddell

More archaeology than myth, with reasonable conclusions and interesting parallels between Ireland and Indo-European mythos. Reviews both well-known sites like Tara and lesser known sites. Lots of primary and secondary sources. Focuses on equine ritual, solar worship, sacral kingship, and sovereignty goddesses.

Eyfríðr says:  I expected more myth but was very pleased with the scientific approach to the subject matter. Lots of really fascinating details that make you wonder and wish for a time machine. Reading this made me feel like I got the briefest glimpse into the Iron Age.