This volume is one of a series of Time-Life books about how people lived during different times and places in history. As one would expect from the publishers, "What Life Was Like" is beautifully illustrated, featuring breathtaking photographs of Ireland.
What the book lacks is an exciting, sustained narrative. Although the text touches upon the interesting lives of St. Patrick, St. Columba and King Brian Boru, it lacks the crisp storytelling of books like Reston's "The Last Apocalypse" or Howarth's "1066." And considering that "What Life Was Like" covers 800 years of Irish history, it weighs in it a very superficial 130 pages--most of which are taken up with pictures! (It does, however, include a useful pronunciation guide and a helpful summary of the origins of various Irish surnames.)
I liked "What Life Was Like" well enough to buy a few other volumes in the series, but I view this one as "history lite," an agreeable diversion for a rainy Sunday afternoon but not good enough to keep a reader going late into the night.
Any what life was like book is worth your time! This is the best type of history book I ever picked up. Time Life takes you into the lives of common folk and lets you see how History is meant to be written.