Top 100 - 2011

Thomas Cahill

Thomas Cahill is a bestselling author and scholar whose landmark book, How the Irish Saved Civilization, marked its 15th anniversary in 2010. The book, which spent two years on The New York Times bestseller list, tells the story of fifth-century Irish monks who copied and thereby preserved almost all of what has survived of Western classical poetry, history, oratory, and philosophy. It also explains how the monks took that learning to the continent after the decline of the Barbarians, putting their unique mark on Western culture.

How the Irish Saved Civilization was the first in Cahill’s Hinges of History series, which dissects formative moments in Western civilization. He is currently working on Volume Six of the series, which will be about the Renaissance and Reformation.

Cahill’s most recent book, A Saint on Death Row: The Story of Dominique Green chronicles the true story of a young man who was executed after eleven years on death row.

Cahill was born and raised in the Bronx by Irish-American parents. He is a speaker of many languages and used to teach at Queens College, Fordham University, and Seton Hall University. He has since retired and focuses on writing. Cahill often contributes to Irish America.

Cahill and his wife, Susan, also a writer, divide their time between New York and Rome.