1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a really good biography of James Connolly. It is part of a series called '16 Lives' that commemorates the lives of the 16 men who were executed by the British imperial state in the wake of the 1916 Easter Rising.
Lorcan Collins has produced a biography that is readable, that avoids the academic verbiage that gets in the way in far too many history books. Collins has produced an accessible, popular history.
The emphasis is upon Connolly's socialism but also how this leads him also into republicanism and opposition to British rule in Ireland. Connolly and his family are portrayed in a well rounded fashion and, most importantly, Connolly's politics are well explained.
I have a few small criticisms: a really good political-historical biography captures the political times in which its character is an actor and this book doesn't really do that. For a non-Irish reader this can lead to a little confusion - what, for instance, defined the Gaelic League as distinct from the IRB? There is also no assessment of Connolly's legacy. Still, I expect the brief for the series was specific.
Currently, in Britain, there's an uncritical attitude to WWI and the empire and looking at Ireland's struggle for independence and dissident voices like those of Connolly is a good place to start for an antidote and this book is a good place to start the treatment.
on 12 May 2015
An engaging overview of the life of James Connolly from his early years, through Trade Union activism in Britain, Ireland and the US to his role in the 1916 Rising. It is particularly interesting as Connolly's story to 1916 is very different from many others who led the Rising. A recommended read and make sure if you're in Dublin, to take the author's guided tour!.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2013
Quick delivery from Amazon. Good read ., highly accurate & well put together, Connolly new his limits & sacrificed his life to head Ireland in the right direction at the beginning 20 th Century. All sixteen men were Saints , Scholars, Martyrs. Whole series worth reading!A credit to such a small nation!