Despite Winston Churchill's best efforts to the contrary, the Irish premier Eamon de Valera stuck rigidly to Ireland's right to remain outside a conflict in which it had no enemies. Accusations of betrayal and hypocrisy poisoned the airwaves and the printed media; legends of Nazi spies roaming the country freely made Ireland seem a haven for Hitler's friends. This is the background to Clair Wills's brilliant and ground-breaking book. Where previous histories of Ireland in the war years have focused on high politics, That Neutral Island mines deeper layers of experience. Sean O'Faolain, Kate O'Brien, Elizabeth Bowen, Flann O'Brien and Louis MacNeice are a few of the writers whose stories, letters and diaries are used to illuminate this small country as it lived under rationing, heavy censorship, the threat of invasion and a strange state of detachment from the real world of the war. Clair Wills brings to life the atmosphere of a country forced to do without much of its modern technology. She describes the work of those who recovered the bodies of British sailors and airmen from the sea. She unearths the motivations of those thousands who left the country to fight in the British forces. And she shows how ordinary people tried to make sense of the Nazi threat through the lens of antagonism to Britain, the former colonial power.