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Fatal Path [Paperback]

Ronan Fanning
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: £10.99
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Book Description

3 April 2014

This is a magisterial narrative of the most turbulent decade in Anglo-Irish history: a decade of unleashed passions that came close to destroying the parliamentary system and to causing civil war in the United Kingdom. It was also the decade of the cataclysmic Great War, of an officers' mutiny in an elite cavalry regiment of the British Army and of Irish armed rebellion. It was a time, argues Ronan Fanning, when violence and the threat of violence trumped democratic politics.

This is a contentious view. Historians have wished to see the events of that decade as an aberration, as an eruption of irrational bloodletting. And they have have been reluctant to write about the triumph of physical force. Fanning argues that in fact violence worked, however much this offends our contemporary moral instincts. Without resistance from the Ulster Unionists and its very real threat of violence the state of Northern Ireland would never have come into being. The Home Rule party of constitutionalist nationalists failed, and were pushed aside by the revolutionary nationalists Sinn Fein.

Bleakly realistic, ruthlessly analytical of the vacillation and indecision displayed by democratic politicians at Westminster faced with such revolutionary intransigence, Fatal Path is history as it was, not as we would wish it to be.


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Fatal Path + The Republic: The Fight for Irish Independence, 1918-1923 + Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion
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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (3 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571297404
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571297405
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.6 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 125,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Ronan Fanning ... has crowned his career with this lapidary work. It is beautifully written, compellingly argued, gleaming with clarity as he confidently makes his way through a story of confusion, deceit and denial lightened by rare glimpses of honest men doing their best. (James Downey Irish Independent)

Absorbing [and] fascinating. (John-Paul McCarthy Sunday Independent)

'In his splendid new book on Britain's Irish policy in these formative years, Ronan Fanning stresses that his topic is not Anglo-Irish relations in the round but Britain's policy towards Ireland. Yet if this is essentially a study in British history, it is also required reading for students of Irish history because of the way it illuminates our perspectives on the mode of British decision-making through which the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland emerged ... a compelling read. (Joe Lee Irish Times)

This book provides valuable insights into the British government's attitude towards the Irish Revolution. (Ryle Dwyer Irish Examiner) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

A powerful new history of Ireland covering the decade of the Great War and the Easter Rising.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book recently and have been engrossed by its contents ever since. This work is the result of long and extensive archival research, mixed with critical analysis and splendid character examination. We get to hear the true voices of leading English statesmen, from Lloyd George, Churchill and Bonar Law. All students of British government policy towards Ireland will use this work as the basis of their own understanding of this complicated and fascinating subject matter - Prof. Fanning has produced a seminal work in the field of 20th century Anglo-Irish relations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 22 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a superb work of scholarship and an engrossing read. It details the high politics of Britain's Irish problem from 1912 to 1922 and makes it clear that some kind of partition was inevitable, though the exact outline of the border was up for discussion until late in the day. It is refreshing to have an Irish history written from the vantage point of London and not Ireland as we can see how the preoccupation of British politicians was to get away from the Irish question at the earliest opportunity. It also highlights the weak negotiating tactics of the Irish team that led to the Anglo-Irish treaty. This book concerns itself mainly with the British dimension to the Irish question, therefore nationalist Irish politicians such as Redmond, De Valera etc are not dealt with in any depth. John Redmond is described as "deluded" on two occasions without dealing with why he should be described as such. That is a minor quibble, in an otherwise excellent work. Well done Ronan Fanning.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great historic thriller 5 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Fanning has shown Irish history is exciting, a great read, I loved the way he brought the focus of people behind the main characters to show the major parts they played during this period

Fingers crossed more quality irish history books are coming soon
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bold and authoritative 7 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fanning is a master of detail and his clinical dissection of this disastrous phase in Irish history is essential reading
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