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Thomas Cahill

New York Times-bestselling historian and author of Heretics and Heroes

  • About Thomas Cahill

    Thomas Cahill’s appealing approach to distant history has won the attention of millions of readers in North America and beyond. Cahill is the author of six volumes in the Hinges of History series: How the Irish Saved Civilization, The Gifts of the JewsDesire of the Everlasting HillsSailing the Wine-Dark Sea, Mysteries of the Middle Ages, and Heretics and Heroes. They have been bestsellers, not only in the United States but also internationally, in countries ranging from Italy to Brazil.

    Cahill is best known, in his books and lectures, for taking on a broad scope of complex history and distilling it into a remarkably accessible, illuminating and entertaining narrative. His lively, engaging writing animates cultures that existed up to five millennia ago, revealing the lives of his principal characters with refreshing insight and joy. He writes history, not in its usual terms of war and atrocity, but by inviting his audience into an ancient world to commune with some of the most influential people who ever lived. Unlike all too many history lessons, a Thomas Cahill history book or speech is impossible to forget.

    A lifelong scholar, Thomas Cahill has studied with some of America’s most distinguished literary and biblical scholars at Fordham University, Columbia University, New York’s Union Theological Seminary, and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He has taught at Queens College, Fordham University, and Seton Hall University, served as the North American education correspondent for the Times of London, and was Director of Religious Publishing at Doubleday for six years. Cahill has addressed the U.S. Congress on the Judeo-Christian roots of moral responsibility in American Politics. He is also the author of A Saint on Death Row, about the tragic death of Dominique Green, wrongly accused and then executed in Huntsville, Texas.

  • Speaking Topics

    Courage and Kindness on Death Row

    Jews, Christians and God's Word

    Examining a common heritage of prayer and action.

    The End of Christian Division

    Looking at achieving reunion through truth-telling.

  • Video

  • Praise for Thomas Cahill

    Praise for Heretics and Heroes

    A great achievement. . . . Seemingly effortless illumination of the Renaissance and the Reformation.

    James S. Shapiro, author of Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?

    Cahill is our king of popular historians, and rightly so. He is eminently learned and wise . . . opinionated and unsparing in his view of history.

    The Dallas Morning News

    Praise for A Saint on Death Row

    Cahill reveals the stomach-knotting circumstances of Dominique’s childhood years with great sensitivity. . . . This is not merely an academic account of miscarried justice. [Cahill is] lending [his] voice to someone who has been dehumanized, debased. . . . Cahill’s central question lingers like the burn of stomach acid in the back of one’s throat: What did we gain—what?—by killing him?

    Paste Magazine

    Moving. . . . A powerful challenge to any notion that all is more or less OK with the administration of criminal justice in the US. . . . Once you’ve gotten to know [Dominique Green] in Cahill’s pages, [he] is not likely to slip very quickly from your memory.

    Richard Bernstein, The Daily Beast

    Remarkable. . . . Cahill’s book stimulates deep thought about good and evil. . . . Readers could count themselves foolish to pass by any book he writes. . . . An affecting book.

    The Tampa Bay Times

    Powerful. . . . [A] story of redemption and forgiveness. . . . In patient detail, [Cahill] captures a young street kid responding to [the death penalty] with such growing equanimity, grace, and saintliness. . . . [An] excellent book.

    Baltimore City Paper

    Intensely powerful. . . . A case history of the failures of society. . . . There is so much in this meticulously researched and clearly explained book to make you think.

    Washington Lawyer

    An affecting book. . . . Cahill stimulates deep thought about good and evil, and he is an intelligent, engaging historian.

    The Dallas Morning News

    An inspiring story of growth and redemption. . . . Cahill has achieved something grander than straight biography here: an intervention in public memory.

    Texas Observer

    Riveting. . . . [A] poignant tribute. . . . Cahill’s moving tale shines a sharp light on a negligent and flawed justice system.

    The Christian Science Monitor

    I expect A Saint on Death Row to become a classic in the growing struggle to cleanse this nation finally of the sin of the death penalty.

    Jonathan Kozol

    A deeply moving narrative about a man transformed as he faced an unjust execution.

    James H. Cone, author of Black Theology and Black Power

    Though this is a book that ends in death, it does not end in despair. Read it and discover how even the obscenity of capital punishment can be transformed into an occasion of light and peace.

    Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa

    Praise for Mysteries of the Middle Ages

    [Cahill] succeeds roundly in bringing his own gift of enticing readers to the study of the past, describing the development and definition of the medieval worldview, as well as he has ever done.

    New York Daily News

    Cahill offers a fascinating portrayal of the intellectual richness that foreshadows the coming Renaissance. . . . [He] deftly focuses on key locations and major figures that form the foundations of Renaissance and Modern thought in feminism, science, and art.

    Rocky Mountain News

    Praise for How the Irish Saved Civilization

    Charming and entirely engaging, delectable voyage into the distant past, a small treasure.

    The New York Times

    A lovely and engrossing tale...Graceful and instructive.

    Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times

    Praise for Sailing the Wine Dark Sea

    Fascinating. . . . Commendable. . . . Cahill has an impressive knowledge of the Greek world. . . . His admirable skill at summing up movements
    of enormous complexity surface throughout the book.

    The Seattle Times

    Astonishing. . . . If anybody can get us reading about Homer, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Thucydides, Xenophon and more, Cahill will.

    Chicago Tribune

    The best introduction to classical Greek culture yet written. . . . Learned, stylish and inspiring. . . . Well-informed, insightful and on the whole written in a sparkling style.

    Los Angeles Times

    Praise for The Gifts of the Jews

    This is a valuable book, of interest to everyone, religious or not.

    Washington Times

    A very good read, a dramatically effective, often compelling retelling of the Hebrew Bible.

    Chicago Sun Times

    An outstanding and very readable book…highly recommended.

    Library Journal

    Persuasive as well as entertaining…Mr. Cahill’s book [is] a gift.

    The New York Times

    Praise for Desire of the Everlasting Hills

    Compelling—powerful—. Cahill is a convivial storyteller.

    Portland Oregonian

    Cahill constructs his stories as occassions for celebration…He seeks to encourage a sense of appreciation for the gifts offered the present from the past…Each of his books offers moments of genuine insight into the workings of culture, literature, and the human heart.


    A deft march through time and through theology in the making—. [Cahill’s] own gift-giving is his ability to climb inside the scholarship and enliven it.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer

    Engaging—. Cahill strips away the pious accretions of 2000 years so that a picture of Jesus as an actual human being emerges.

  • Books by Thomas Cahill

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