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Comrades: Inside the War of Independence Paperback – 30 Apr 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Liberties Press; first edition (30 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905483147
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905483143
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,037,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'the book is a fascinating insight into the many intertwined aspects of the Irish revolution and its lesser known participants' --Verbal Magazine

About the Author

Annie Ryan is a retired schoolteacher who is best known for her work championing the rights of people with intellectual disabilities and mental-health problems. Her campaigning in relation to the state mental hospital in Portrane gained her national prominence, and she ran in the 1997 general election as an independent candidate on this issue. Annie.s father Tom Harris took part in the Rising and was one of the witnesses interviewed in the 1940s. Half a century on, the release of the records has enabled her to read the accounts of her own father and hundreds of others who were involved in events that would prove to be crucial to Ireland's achievement of independence.

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This is a worthy book with many points of interest. Inevitably you are left wanting to hear more from some witnesses and less or nothing from others. These statements made to the Bureau of Military History by primarily republican participants in the Irish War of Independence are a valuable and useful record. That said I found the book rather pedestrian. The Author has focused on lesser known contributions and generally avoided the big set piece events of that period. The layout of the book is part of the problem. It is partly thematic and partly geographical and draws on statements from those based in less active areas or in more peripheral areas such as the Dail Courts or Cumann na mBan. It does a good job of giving fair weight to events in Northern Ireland, so often a forgotten issue. This structure gives the book a clumsy and sometimes repetitive feel as it bounces to and fro though the period in chapter after chapter. I can see what the Author was trying to do but for me at least it made the book rather tiresome to read. I also found the linkages between the statements rather weak and they did little to illuminate the statements. The commentary is pretty uncritical and the narration of events adheres to a conventional interpretation of the course of the War. Worth a read for anyone interested in the period but it could have been a better book.
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