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4.4 out of 5 stars17
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 15 July 2012
"Confessions of an Irish Rebel" is a grossly misleading title.

"Confessions" is a misnomer. What we have here are a few new insights, plus lengthy repetitions of excerpts from "Borstal Boy". The phrases of genius which startled us and made us roar with laughter in "Borstal Boy" become tedious when repeated again - and again - and again.

"Borstal Boy" was a piping hot supper, just made, and from the finest ingredients of wit, sarcasm, bitterness and love. This is a the scrapings of the pot, re-heated and not even intended to be tasty.

For those who, like me, consider "Borstal Boy" a triumph of English prose, it would be best to pass on this temptation to have another round of Behan.

It is, all too obviously, a rendering of the later ramblings of the often drunk Behan. Please note, however, I don't blame Brendan for being drunk - many of us have been - but I do blame the editor / publisher for charging good money for this kind of drivel.

Yes, for the student of Behan, there are some interesting sidelights on his movements after release from the Borstal system, but there the interest ends.

And finally - and most importantly - please be aware that this is NOT the writing of Behan himself, but a record of interviews with him, shortly before his death.

On the back cover of my original copy of "Borstal Boy" (an old friend), is a quotation from Kenneth Tynan, "If the English hoard words like misers, the Irish spend them like sailors". Absolutely, Kenneth, a better and briefer review of that broth of a book would be difficult to conceive.

This, however, is not the glorious spending of words that was "Borstal Boy". Rather, it is the morning after and the words are vomited rather than spent.

To anyone, after reading "Borstal Boy" and seeking more of the same, I would suggest reading "Borstal Boy" again instead of spending money on this tripe.
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on 4 October 2014
An unsparing, insouciant wit with a brilliant eye for the little details of life and the beauty of Ireland's working people. One of Ireland's greatest literary exports, one of the gems of the English language. You'll chuckle, laugh and love this book.
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on 23 November 2000
This was involving, intriguing as I knew nothing about the world of which he writes, or the man himself, other than he's in a Shane Macgowan song. He comes across as warm, canny, clever, and utterly true to himself. I loved it. I'm not suprised Shane Macgowan admires him. It's one of my favourite books, and Ireland springs out of his words. I couldn't put it down either, and wish I could find his poems somewhere (hint hint)
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on 20 November 2011
I have read 'Borstal Boy' a number of times. As a story it flows well and entertains as it weaves an account of his life 'inside'. The characters are real flesh and blood - people you can form an opinion on quickly. The book also gives an excellent insight into the regime of a British prison.

'Confessions' is disjointed and often lacks direction and purpose. It represents a typical attempt to keep alive the cash cow by publishing material that the author himself would not have conisdered suitable for publication. I will never pick up 'Confessions' for a second read
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on 20 June 2001
Brendan Behan is a modern Irish legend, a kind of urban myth come true.
In Confessions of an Irish rebel, Behan continues to regale us with his astonishing wit and general bawdy humour, peppered with comments that give a glimpse of the man and his intelligence.
Brendan gives us more of a celebration of his raison d'etre than confessions of a man both loved and loathed by his very jailers; this time he even manages to land in serioius trouble with the Irish police as opposed to his sworn enemy, the English police force.
We see his escapades in and around Ireland, carousing with whores and singing loyalist anthems at the top of his lungs - he even manages a bit of paid work along the way. All of this is underpinned by a strong narrative and a deeply ingrained political conscience.
Don't miss this book; whatever your persuasion, political or otherwise, Behan will grip you from the beginning and have you laughing all the way to the pub!
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on 9 October 2011
This is a well-written entertaining read. It is an interesting record of the time Behan lived in and the way the Irish were regarded by the English at the time. From his writings, I get the impression Behan probably knew more about drinking with his pals and getting into trouble than women! As a writer, he deserves to be better known.
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on 5 November 1999
Am still in the process of reading this book, but find that I'm sneaking a read even at work. Thoroughly recommendable!
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on 6 August 2014
I liked it. It was enjoyably readable and engaging but also,often when least expected, could make you pause for thought and reflection. Nice to read something where the perspective it subtle, unassuming and compassionate.
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on 22 March 2015
I've been trying to get hold of Brendan Behan books since school!!!!!!! This seller had a further two which I also purchased.
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on 7 February 2016
Excellent historical and witty insight into the passionate life of Brendan Behan
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