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4.0 out of 5 stars Scintillating ride of a read thru the 1st and only Revolution in British 20th Century history!, 13 Mar 2014
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This review is from: 1916: The Easter Rising (Paperback)
For years I stayed away from reading material like this because having been brought up in Dublin I was exposed to the legend of 1916 on an almost daily basis. Decades of objective distance made reading this book, the 1st for me by Pat Coogan, a real experience. Like Joyce in France I can envisage every single street,alleyway and place checknamed. I was always especially fond of Countess Markievicz (nee Gore Booth) and she comes out of this a real heroine. You can feel the tension build as the idealists,bathed in poetry and Irish myth, set forth on what was to be one of the most hopelessly heroic events in Irish and British history. What comes across is that this band of
poets,school teachers,lawyers,writers and English aristocrats were not
military people at all. But a band of people stuffed full of idealism and
pride that Easter 1916 in Dublin was the appropriate time for the 1st and
only Revolution on British soil of the 20th Century. No thuggery,
alcoholism, exploitation or foolishness was tolerated. The Constutution
signed by Pearse,Connolly et al called for equality in everything a small
free Ireland could offer. The rebels were easily cut to pieces by the
British army and navy. The subsequent summary executions (both de Valera and
Constance Markievicz escaped death by the skin of their teeth) was the very
wrong thing for Asquith to allow for it turned not just the Irish people
against his Liberal government but a large chunk of the world especially in
America. Pat Coogan guides us through all the differing levels of that
momentous week. Even hardened high-ranking British officers were impressed
at how the rebels handled themselves, not only with dealing with injured
Tommies, shipped in at short notice from the mainland,but in the degree of
dignity in the manner of their surrender. All went to their deaths either
reciting poetry or singing Irish songs. The photos are an eye-opener too. I
deducted one star for the inappropriate Aftermath section at the end.
Instead of a thorough chapter on what happened in Dublin after the Rising
and sketching out the subsequent careers of the survivors especially
Constance Markievicz and Eamonn de Valera, Pat Coogan leaps to the 21st
Century bringing in the Good Friday Agreement and the so-called Real IRA,
who to my mind after Omagh have no business being mentioned in the same
breath as Pearse and Company! Mark Prendergast
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