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Irish Freedom [Kindle Edition]

Richard English
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £12.99
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Book Description

Richard English's brilliant new book, now available in paperback, is a compelling narrative history of Irish nationalism, in which events are not merely recounted but analysed. Full of rich detail, drawn from years of original research and also from the extensive specialist literature on the subject, it offers explanations of why Irish nationalists have believed and acted as they have, why their ideas and strategies have changed over time, and what effect Irish nationalism has had in shaping modern Ireland. It takes us from the Ulster Plantation to Home Rule, from the Famine of 1847 to the Hunger Strikes of the 1970s, from Parnell to Pearse, from Wolfe Tone to Gerry Adams, from the bitter struggle of the Civil War to the uneasy peace of the early twenty-first century. Is it imaginable that Ireland might – as some have suggested – be about to enter a post-nationalist period? Or will Irish nationalism remain a defining force on the island in future years?

'a courageous and successful attempt to synthesise the entire story between two covers for the neophyte and for the exhausted specialist alike' Tom Garvin, Irish Times

Product Description


'A brilliant one-volume history of Ireland.' -- Guardian

'He sets about unpacking some of nationalism's cherished myths, while acknowledging their influence.'
-- The Observer

'His scholarly attention to details and evidence makes for a compelling argument and a fresh, stimulating take on Irish history...' -- Sunday Express

'It's provocative, interesting and lively, a work of epic research and energy...' -- Irish Times

'Professor English has given a new way in which to study and understand Irish nationalism and through it, Irish history'
-- Cotemporary Review

Cotemporary Review

'Professor English has given a new way in which to study and understand Irish nationalism and through it, Irish history'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1927 KB
  • Print Length: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Reprints edition (4 Sept. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0044XV5PS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #168,352 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A study in Nationalism 1 Feb. 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Irish Freedom by Richard English is a remarkable account of Irish history. It is remarkable because it reveals an entirely different perspective on the history of Ireland that, from my personal experience, was not taught to children in Northern Ireland's Protestant schools. I have now learned why the British Union flag is referred to as 'the butcher's apron'!

As a student of political philosophy I was surprised to learn that education was not available to Irish catholics. The implication being that if they were illiterate then their ability to rebel and throw out the foreign oppressor would be severely constrained.
Key to successful English domination of Ireland was in excluding Irish catholics from any of the benefits that would naturally be enjoyed by those within the Pale. Hence, and confusingly to many, the majority of people who figured in the Nationalist struggle were in fact rational Protestants.

In his book Dr. English begins with Irish pre-history and the circumstances of how England became occupiers whose presence was both beneficial & brutal. He goes on to present an excellent exposition of what represents the ideals of Nationalism and how the political responses of an English government, faced with wars in Europe, impacted on the Irish population.

Perhaps the greatest contribution to history, made by Dr English, is in his unravelling of the complicated picture of present day Irish politics and the ongoing resistance to Machiavellian enterprise waged by the British government. He also explains the dilemma faced by the British in either supporting Unionism or handing Ulster back to Ireland.

In closing, may I say that this study of political imperialism is an unbiased account and elucidates both sides of the Irish 'problem'. It is a text that ought to be included in all British school curriculums.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Explaining Irish history from a new perspective 30 May 2009
By Paul Wilyman VINE VOICE
This is certainly not a book for someone with just a casual interest in Irish history, and definitely not for someone who is looking for a book to read by the pool on holiday. It's well written, but pretty heavy going - "scholarly" would be a good summing up. There are many books on irish history, covering the what, the how, the when and the who of the last near-thousand years. This is the only one I have found that explains the why. It makes sense of the strength of feeling that has caused many people to act the way they have done, in an accessible and objective way. If you're already knowledgeable about irish history, then this book really puts it in perspective. Very well researched, clearly a labour of love for the author, and a real eye-opener.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, balanced, history 12 Feb. 2009
By oldhasbeen VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very well written, very wide ranging history of Irish Nationalism that treats it as a complex subject worthy of detailed analyis.

The author, greatly to his credit, does not attempt to hide the worst features of British rule, even though he ultimately comes down as pro-partition, at least in the sense that he clearly believes that some form of partition was inevitable by 1912. Nor does he over-simplify complex issues, or regard Nationalism as homogenous and unchanging as many other appear to. At the end of this book I felt I had learned an awful lot about the belieefs of Irish Unionists & Nationists, and a lot of the "why?" too.

It's not always an easy read, but repays the effort. It's not perefect - I would have liked more on the Curragh mutiny and the 1920's Boundary Commisison, for example - but no book on such a contentious subject ever will be, so it deserves five stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. 13 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well presented material on a subject which needs life breathed into it. An exhaustive treatment of a complex subject, dealt with in a refreshing way. A compelling read.
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