Customer Review

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping account of the Rising, but short on detail, 11 May 2006
This review is from: 1916: The Easter Rising (Paperback)
If you are looking for an exciting, easily-readable account of the Easter Rising, then this is the book for you. It's written in Tim Pat Coogan's usual engaging style, and covers the background to the Rising, the events and the key personalities. The accounts of the street fighting are very well done, with lots of anecdotes from those who fought.

The only criticisms I have are firstly that it's very sympathetic to the Rebels - of course, this is no bad thing in itself, but it does affect the author's analysis of the events and reduces the book's objectivity, which makes it harder to see what was really going on. Secondly, it leaves out a lot of details that are covered in Charles Townshend's 1916 book, such as Austin Stack's critical failure to signal to the Germans to land the guns at Fenit, and the reasons for the failure of most of the country outside Dublin to rise, especially "rebel" Cork.

This is no dry academic account though, so maybe it's unfair to fault Coogan on these grounds. It's a great, brief history of the single most important event in modern Irish history, which started us on the path to freedom.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Oct 2011 14:05:52 BDT
It is a common criticism of a history book that it is lacking objective analysis. I'm getting to the point where I think we should starting caring less about how objective a book is. The reason why I say this? I study international politics at university and not one single book comes to mind that I would hold up as a great example of objectivity.
What should we value more truth, a reasonable analysis, extensive research, experience, balance & objectivity???
I don't know the answer for definite - I'm just floating the idea.

Posted on 21 Dec 2011 08:43:12 GMT
I agree that Coogan's book is more akin to journalism than history,but,like you say,it's a great read for the non-academic.
One thing I've pondered on long and hard in the past two years is this:if the leaders of the 1916 rising,especially Connolly, could have foreseen the state of Ireland,most of it independent since 1922,90 years on (now a colony of Germany,the ECB and IMF) would they have bothered to rise up?
What do you think?

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Dec 2013 19:01:50 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Apr 2014 11:14:53 BDT
Enthusiast says:
I might give this book a try when I have time. I certainly would like to learn more about this event.

As regards the question of it's academic standing, I am happy to read good journalism and anecdote. I have benefited from and enjoyed, for example, books on The Battle of Britain by Len Deighton and Peter Townsend. But I am still open to any good academic and objective treatment of the 1916 Rising, I'm not looking for hagiographies.

As regards Charles Townshend's "1916", I'm afraid I was put off by (to put it very mildly) the nasty tone of the writing and photograph captions, such as under the picture of Volunteers in the GPO, the sneering "Soldiers are we", a not very flattering picture of two men who may well have been under fire with little sleep for days. My impression was of a book that might have been written by a sneering juvenile, had I received the text without attribution as to author. No wonder the Unionists were so happy with it. I shudder to think what his new "hefty tome" on the war of independence is like.

Re FB's question, I too wonder about Ireland's current status as a colony, or a country administered for decades on behalf of multinationals by a local elite. As to the broader questions this throws up, I don't have any quick answers. But it's not something to be proud of, though we are hardly unique in this! But hope springs eternal, and some at least of the young are saying No.

Best of luck.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Mar 2014 23:47:09 GMT
gerrard says:
I agree with you about the nasty tone of Townshend's books and Tim Pat Coogan's hatred for DeValera and support for the provisionals colours all his writing.For well balanced and researched works, Eoin Neeson's books Birth Of A Republic and The Civil War cover this period very well and are worth reading as is his biography of Michael Collins though they are all now sadly out of print.
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