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The Pope's Children: Ireland's New Elite [Paperback]

David McWilliams
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 May 2007 0330450492 978-0330450492
How today's generation is changing the face of Ireland

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (18 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330450492
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330450492
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 659,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A highly entertaining antidote to the usual gloom mongers of
Ireland's opinion-mongers...a hedonistic story of success.' -- The Guardian

Book Description

Meet the Pope’s Children - the new Irish generation, born either side of the Pope’s visit, who have been squeezed into the middle and lifted up by the Celtic Tiger. David McWilliams’ brilliant, bestselling survey of Ireland today is a celebration of success. He takes us to Deckland, that suburban state of mind where you’ll find the Kells Angels, those out-of-town commuters who are the cutting edge of the new prosperity. He introduces the HiCos – the Hiberno-Cosmopolitans – the elite whose distance from Deckland is measured in their cool sophistication, their ability to feel at home equally on the Boulevard Saint-Michel and on Hill 16. The Pope’s Children is an antidote to the endless pessimism of the Commentariat, official Ireland’s gloomy opinion mongers, forever seeing a glass half empty that is in fact three-quarters full. There is a vast surge of ambition, new money, optimism and hope out there. That’s the real story: The Pope’s Children tells it with style.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Painted in broad strokes 1 Dec 2005
The stereotypes are correct and the book gallops along at a furious pace. I bought the book Monday lunchtime and finished it 2 days later.
On many things he is on the money. In particular the assertion that debt will be the undoing of the whole game. We are spending a ferocious amount of borrowed money and have little regard for value for money or sustaining our success.
The book concentrates on the various types of nouveau rich that have mushroomed here but he ignored like thr rest of us the ghettos that won't prosper and can't join in the monopoly game.
Little regard too is given to the 40% functional illiteracy rate that we still have here. This coupled with easy credit makes it a mugs game because they can't readit they can't see how the lender is taking their first born as a guarantee.
There is an army of kids that will never and can never join the race for more money because they are not educated in primary school and home is too messed up with drugs and partents who are not present in their own lives never mind their kids lives.
Also nothing was said about the unwillingness and the impotent response to broadband and creating an informationally literate society. We rely on piggybacking the malaise of the Eurozone rather than using this time to upskill and push even further ahead. Its almost cool here to be IT illiterate and say that "I don't understand" and "fix it for me" Singapore and Hong Kong are so far ahead in this and we will never catch up when the tables turn and debt kicks us in the behind. It might seem middle class to highlight this but Korea has the highest and fastest broadband in the world. Korea is going places. Samsung products are now better than Sony.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Remarkably similar to David Brooks's 2000 study, Bobos in Paradise -- The New Upper Class And How They Got There. In fact, a recent article in Ireland on Sunday went so far as to quesion whether McWilliams is the new copycat of the Celtic Tiger!
For example:
McWilliams writes of a new social class he calls HiCos, Hibernian Cosmopolitans disappointed that the social revolutions they supported in the 1970s, '80s and '90s led to mass consumerism rather than radical political change.
The Bobos -- Bourgeois Bohemians -- (from Brooks's book) fret about the same things as the HiCos. Both are seeking new spiritual paths, rejecting Judaeo-Christian worship and looking instead for New Age solutions to fill the aching void that rampant materialism has corroded into their souls, and each is appalled by the vulgarity of the class below. For the Bobo, that is Patio Man; for the HiCo, it is DIY Declan, a citizen of Deckland, McWilliams's catch-all name for anonymous satellite towns where garden decking is the ultimate sign you have arrived.
DIY Declan sees Woodie's as his temple -- which makes him a very close cousin of Patio Man, who feels the same about Home Depot.
And they are aspirational in very similar ways. For Brooks, that means they crave monstrous refrigerators and 'slate shower stalls'; for McWilliams, it means they crave monstrous refrigerators and 'slate wet-rooms'
In leafy US suburbs, Brooks found that so many blue delivery bags containing the New York Times lay on suburban lawns that the bags were visible from outer space. McWilliams decides that, along with the Great Wall of China, Christmas decorations in Celbridge gardens are the only things that can be seen with the naked eye from space.
It goes on.
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2.0 out of 5 stars No real answers, shallow 11 Mar 2008
By Mr. D
The first half of this book is fantastic - informative backed up with facts and figures. McWilliams characters such as Robopaddy and DIY Declan are well documented. Unfortunately we do not learn the fate of these characters. Like alot of economists it appears McWilliams does not want to risk his reputation forecasting the future of Ireland's crazy consumer spending and easy credit. Despite touching on important subjects such as racism and the environment the author does not explore these in any great detail. The book closes with a rather emerald tinted view of modern day Ireland. A case of "its alright jack" Croker is filled on championship sunday and people are calling their first born Aoife. Alright then. The popularity of Tesco, Coronation Street and Manchester United show that Ireland sold its soul a long time ago. DIY Declan's complementary tickets to the All Ireland final will not change this.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Racing Tiger 4 Aug 2006
By Crannog
This is probably the most entertaining economic tract ever written, only an Irish economist could do it. He takes the piss out of the national predilection for pessimism, by the journalistic establishment whom he labels the commentariat. Their refusal to be cheerful flies in the face of the evidence of a simultaneous social revolution and economic miracle, and he pillories them in a hilariously readable way. Do not fail to buy this book, even though Amazon are quoting a 4-week delivery period at the time of writing. But do not think of reading it in the train, as your fellow passengers will probably send for the men in white coats to take you away while helpless with laughter. Only in Ireland or Italy does one get away with loud laughter in a public place
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull, and wrong
His endless optimism for the group that he called the new elite are now in negative equity and leaving the country. The real elite is the over 70s. Read more
Published on 25 Aug 2010 by simon else
3.0 out of 5 stars Very funny look at the celtic tiger
well worth a read , if you are fed up with returing to ireland and hearing how everything is grand ....then you wont like this .. Read more
Published on 7 Mar 2007 by N. O. Donnell
3.0 out of 5 stars very selective. But does speak some truth.
Yes Ireland has experienced a boom and yes as a result we all are now able to buy the finer drugs and cars and all of that, but while this book shows all of this, it has the same... Read more
Published on 3 Mar 2007 by David G
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful
Apart from the chapter on the property boom, where the author's background in economics allows him some joined-up thinking, this is awful. Read more
Published on 23 Jan 2007 by John Grenham
1.0 out of 5 stars A very frustrating read
This book had been recommended by a friend who said it reflected life in Ireland. I don't live in Ireland at the moment, but found that it does not come close to describing the... Read more
Published on 14 Nov 2006 by M. Kelly
1.0 out of 5 stars Catalogue of stereotypes
At first I was reluctant to review this book: after all, I couldn't bring myself to finish it, so how could I comment? Read more
Published on 4 Oct 2006 by F. Gibbons
1.0 out of 5 stars Squirrel on Speed
I really honestly fail to see how anbody can take this book seriously. The author is utterly unable to follow a single thread of thought through to any logical conclusion. Read more
Published on 16 July 2006 by helen
5.0 out of 5 stars Laughed out loud in the book shop it was so funny
Had a look at this book today in Waterstones and I was laughing so much I had to look over my shoulder to see how much I had embarrassed myself! Read more
Published on 19 Jan 2006 by CLAIR
4.0 out of 5 stars I mostly agree but...
I loved the book except where it concludes that the 95% vote to scrap Articles 2 and 3 was a rejection of "nationalism". Read more
Published on 3 Jan 2006
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