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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historically Significant, 29 July 2009
A. Byrne "Irish Reviewer" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Brother Against Brother (Paperback)
This short book, published posthumously, is of historical significance and is well worth reading.

Deasy was a leading figure of the Irish War of Independence and of the Anti-Treaty faction. His account of the Irish Civil War is short on details in some respects. However, bearing in mind that the Book was written half a century after the events took place and that Civil War sensitivities persist even today, these omissions are probably understandable.

Deasy captures the dilemma that faced Pro- and Anti-Treaty forces alike in coming to terms with the bitter in-fighting of the Civil War. He gives a clear sense of how matters rapidly got out of hand and that, as with a grand scale riot, no one was really in control of much of the tragic conflict that unfolded.

Deasy highlights the reactive, unplanned aspect of the Anti-Treaty military effort, a campaign in which he fully participated, but in which his participation was not as enthusiastic as his role in the War of Independence. From the first morning of the shelling of the Four Courts, he felt a profound unease that Irish soldiers had turned against each other.

Deasy gives a first hand account of being on the run, trying to evade the noose of the Free State Army in which he was eventually caught.

Sentenced to death, he was reprieved following his efforts to broker a ceasefire. He had been less than an hour away from being shot by firing squad when he agreed to sign a plea to his fellow commanders to lay down their arms.

At the time Deasy was criticised for his decision to sign a surrender, but this does not come across in the Book. He has graciously stated his viewpoint for the record, without point scoring against his critics.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that Liam Deasy was a man of courage, who found himself in the bizarre situation of firstly fighting the Black and Tans, then, within a year, fighting against some of those with whom he soldiered, finally finding himself isolated in his resolve to broker peace.

This book is a must for anyone interested in the Irish Civil War.
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Brother Against Brother
Brother Against Brother by Liam Deasy (Paperback - 31 Dec. 1994)
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