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The Destiny of the Soldiers: Fianna Fail, Irish Republicianism and the IRA 1926-1973 Hardcover – 19 Nov 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 540 pages
  • Publisher: Gill & Macmillan Ltd (19 Nov. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0717147630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0717147632
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 4.8 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,334,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr Donnacha Ó Beacháin is a faculty member of the School of Law and Government, Dublin City University, where he lectures on post-Soviet politics and Irish foreign policy.

Product Description

About the Author

Donnacha Ó Beacháin lectures in politics at the School of Law and Government, Dublin City University.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Political_Animal on 28 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover
While it has become fashionable in recent times to write off Fianna Fáil as an intellectually bankrupt party that put power above all else this book suggests that this was a process that occurred over many decades.

The author skilfully charts the ideological development of the Fianna Fáil party from its roots in the civil war through the reorganisation of republication politics in the 1920s and the party's spectacular record of electoral success from the early 1930s.

The book's strengths include its depth and wealth of previously unpublished information gleaned mainly from archival material and contemporary sources. While naturally focussing on the policies and actions of the Fianna Fáil leadership the book also provides valuable insights into how the party at all levels grappled with reconciling the fact that decades in power had brought the party no nearer to achieving their oft-proclaimed national objectives. In particular the book teases out Fianna Fáil's evolving attitudes towards Northern Ireland and their erstwhile comrades in the IRA. Ó Beacháin shows how the party largely neglected the people of Northern Ireland for decades, except when trying to harness dissatisfaction with partition for electoral gain, and was completely unprepared for the outbreak of the troubles in 1969. As the conflict spread, the Fianna Fáil leadership quickly decided that its goal was the preservation of the 26 county State that it was originally established to dismantle but in which it now thrived.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By London Irishman on 5 July 2011
Format: Hardcover
Constituted in May 1926, Fianna Fáil comprised opponents of the Anglo-Irish Treaty (1921) that had brought the Irish Free State into existence. The party was established and led by Eamon de Valera, who had been imprisoned in 1923 for supporting republican armed resistance to the treaty. Members of Fianna Fáil at first refused to be seated in Dáil Éireann but finally entered in 1927. In the party's first Árd Fheis, De Valera pledged the Party to pursue the ending of partition as one of the party's founding principles.

Ó Beacháin brilliant analysis of the first 50 years of Fianna Fail shows how the party went from a ragtag outfit of 'slightly constitutional' Dail members to being a conservative establishment party. Part of this process was the rebranding of the 'Republican Party' so as to make it a more appealing for unlikely voting segments, for example, unionists within the Free State. Their strategy included an effort to gain supremacy in the high ground of republican rhetoric. Fianna Fail made an effort from the middle of the 1930's to monopolise republicanism in the state, this culminated in the executions of IRA activists during The Emergency. The executions were necessitated because the IRA was perceived as a threat to the stability of the state but for the Fianna Fail leadership, the words 'state' and 'party' where interchangeable.

Ó Beacháin also goes into great depth to analysis Fianna Fail's response to other republican activities whether they be the rise of Clann na Poblachta in the late 1940's or the 1956-62 IRA border campaign, and most importantly the outbreak of The Troubles in Northern Ireland and the subsequent Arms Trial in the South.

I would highly recommend this book to anybody interested in the formative years of the Irish State or the development of Fianna Fail in first 50 years of it's foundation. A brilliant read.
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By Phil on 29 July 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very thorough treatment of the subject. Excellent at showing just how devious De Valera, the Catholic moralist, was. He had absolutely no real interest in ending partition, but strung along gullible republicans in both the IRA and his own party for decades. Also interesting in showing just how repressive of republicans the first Fianna Fail government was.
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By patrick kelly on 17 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great In dept study of Fianna Fáil. Must have been a crazy time to live in. Very dangerous but changing time
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