This is a SUPERB book by an eminent and highly acclaimed Irish Biographer, Anne Chambers - whose Irish Best Seller, Granuaile, is bought by THOUSANDS of Irish Americans visiting Ireland. The book, "Ranji, the Maharajah of Connemara", emanates from Anne Chambers meticulous research techniques on the life of Granuaile, or Grace O'Malley the famous Pirate Queen and Clan leader of the O'Malley clan who ruled the mid-western seaboard of Ireland during the 16th Century when Queen Elizabeth I of England was trying to dominate the warring Irish clans.
Ranji, the FIRST visiting Head of State to the newly independent Irish Free State in 1924, bought the HUGE Irish Estate of Ballinahinch Castle, some 50,000 acres at its zenith and probably the largest such estate in the Islands of Britain and Ireland - and this was one of Grace O'Malley's fortress castles.
Ranji was probably the greatest cricketer of all time - and certainly a wonderful and colourful character. The book brings together the extraordinary confluence of the Indian Empire of hundreds of Princedoms, the British Raj, the impending independence of India and the role of the princes such as Ranji - combined with the glitter and celebrity of the greatest cricketers in England at the turn of the Twentieth Century - combined with the unlikely but enormous influence that a small nation, Ireland, with its success in becoming independent, had on huge emerging nations primarily India - combined with the mystique of an exotic Indian Prince coming to a remote and poverty stricken region, the West of Ireland and establishing an emotional fondness, rapport and bonding with the local populace who, though of no conventional material resource, had a dignity and self respect, making them the equal of visiting dignitaries. Ranji manifestly respected this culture and was entirely sensitive to the local ways.
Anne Chambers captures all of this in an enchantingly and lyrically written style, combining all that is best in historical research and balanced judgement with the magical exotica of this mysterious Prince finding his spiritual home and retreat in the beautiful wildness of the rain drenched mountains, forests, rivers with the best salmon fishing in the world - far from the drought-riven princedom of Nawanagar, in India, amongst a people and culture that bears an uncanny commonality to those of his own people.