Most helpful positive review
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2009
If you are Irish this book will make you very angry, if you're not I suppose you'll be entitled to wonder if we are actually capable of governing ourselves. O'Toole pushes all the buttons; financial scandals from DIRT evasion to the curious state of Bertie Ahern's finances, the madness of the property boom, the scandals involving the Catholic church, and the shortcomings of Ireland's current political system to mention but a few. Through it all he reminds us of the Irish people's capacity for Doublethink, our ability to know something but not know it, whether it concern Charlie Haughey's dubiously acquired wealth or the paedophile scandals currently rocking the nation. O'Toole is not trying to be objective here, he states at the beginning of the book that he has set out to write a polemical, in this he more than succeeds, rarely has a book made me so angry... or depressed. O'Toole makes it abundantly clear that we are the architects of our own misfortune, that we squandered our opportunity to definitively break with the economic misery that dominated our history until the dawn of the Celtic Tiger in the mid 1990s, that we got ahead of ourselves and forgot to fix the structural problems that remained throughout the period of economic boom, such as our bloated and inefficient health system. O'Toole does strike some notes of hope at the end, he belatedly reminds us that we are a capable people and that we can pull ourselves out of this, it's just going to be a slow and painful process. This book is a must read, you may not agree with all of O'Toole's points but it is a useful contribution to the ongoing debate about the causes and likely outcomes of Ireland's current economic crisis.