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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant if not perfect
Townshend's book on the Easter Rising blew me away and so I read this with very high expectations. And, having finished it I realise I have read an important and revealing work, but there were a few bumps on the road getting there.

Townshend begins with the conscription crisis - another piece of disastrous mishandling by a British regime in Dublin Castle - and...
Published 5 months ago by Mr. Adrian Mcmenamin

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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Rather pedestrian in its prose style but nevertheless gets across the turmoil of that time. Let down by too dense prose.
Published 4 months ago by cyril kavanagh


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant if not perfect, 28 Oct 2013
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Townshend's book on the Easter Rising blew me away and so I read this with very high expectations. And, having finished it I realise I have read an important and revealing work, but there were a few bumps on the road getting there.

Townshend begins with the conscription crisis - another piece of disastrous mishandling by a British regime in Dublin Castle - and ends with Aiken's order for republicans to dump arms at the end of the Civil War, and in between we are given a history that focuses as much, or maybe even more, on the civil as the military side of the republican period. Indeed his argument seems to be that the civil achievements of the republican regime were central to its ability to hold down popular support - as nobody, or nearly nobody, had been explicitly told a Sinn Fein was a vote for war in the 1918 election.

The book traces the slowly widening gap between the "militarists" and the "politicians" on the republican side and Townshend's case is that the experienced political operators, the more successful ministers and administrators (including Mulcahy at IV GHQ), were largely the ones who backed the Treaty as they understood what civil power was about. Foremost of these, of course, was Michael Collins, who emerges from this in many ways as a more dynamic civil than military leader.

The book's description of events in the North, especially outside Belfast, is cursory and nor do we quite discover just how the war accelerated though 1919 and into 1920 - at times the book reads like a commentary on accepted history rather than an attempt to outline that history.

But, yes, it's good.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very sobering view, 8 April 2014
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This review is from: The Republic: The Fight for Irish Independence, 1918-1923 (Kindle Edition)
This is a deeply researched and with sharply directed insight into the mechanics of political inflexibility on both sides resulting in a very nasty war.My only quibble is that he covered too many of the protagonists which made it sometimes confusing.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, 10 Dec 2013
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Rather pedestrian in its prose style but nevertheless gets across the turmoil of that time. Let down by too dense prose.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Very Engaging, 13 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Republic: The Fight for Irish Independence, 1918-1923 (Kindle Edition)
I found this book a real challenge to complete mainly because I couldn't engage with it and didn't enjoy it. It's a very important piece of history not least of course to the Irish and I'm sure as the centenary of the events chronicled in this book approach a lot of new work will be published. If you haven't bought this yet I'd wait until they come out.
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0 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Complicated, 14 Nov 2013
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Too complicated. Irish history during this period is very difficult to understand . My father was Anglo Irish born 1896 and fought in WW1 with Dublin Fusiliers and so I am always keen to learn more about Irish history during this period....I have given up on this book
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