The Celtic Revolution

Written by Simon Young
Review by Sarah Bower

In his introduction to The Celtic Revolution, Simon Young tells us he has “erred on the side of comprehensibility” in this succinct but erudite examination of what the Celtic civilization actually was, as opposed to what many people assume it was – all ceilidhs, knotwork, and Druids. With his customary humour and clarity, Young looks at 2000 years of a people who, though now completely disappeared, had a fundamental effect on the development of Europe, from inadvertently helping to establish the Roman Empire to bringing Christianity to the fringes of the continent. He also discusses the development of the Arthurian legends, using the changing character of these stories to illustrate the influence of the Celts on the modern European mind.

Young has synthesised sources from all over Europe, and in many different languages, to create this eminently readable and enlightening account of a much-misunderstood strand of our ancient and medieval history. An excellent read as well as a rich source of inspiration for the historical novelist. Highly recommended.