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Brian Lenihan: In Calm and Crisis by [Brian  Murphy, Brian Murphy, Mary O'Rourke, Noel Whelan]

Brian Lenihan: In Calm and Crisis Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 8 ratings

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Review

'Once in a while a true leader emerges from the ashes of economic calamity. Brian was one of those beacons in the dark night.' --Christine Lagarde (Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund)

This book is a loving memorial to Brian Lenihan, the former minister for finance and Fianna Fáil politician. Fourteen people, including relatives, friends, academic and political colleagues, and others who had worked with him internationally, as well as Fianna Fáil local activists, contribute testimonies of admiration, respect and personal affection for a person who emerges as being larger than life. It is clear, from the point of view of many contributors to this book, that Brian Lenihan's ability to continue working after his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in December 2009 was not noticeably diminished by the treatments he was receiving. The book intimates that when Lenihan informed the taoiseach of his medical condition, Brian Cowen either did not ask him to step aside within the cabinet to a less demanding job or, alternatively acquiesced to the request of the minister for finance to stay in the job. I can think of very few organisations in this country where such an outcome would have occurred, with a key person being kept in place, for whatever reason. This poignant book is an important contribution to [the full] story, conveyed by people who were close to the central events. --Ruairí Quinn, reviewing for The Irish Times

Changing the general perception of those events is the purpose of the collection of essays in this book on the late finance minister. As Lenihan's formidable aunt Mary O'Rourke points out in her contribution, no-one else seems willing to assess his legacy, or even remember it. There is no doubt that, had he been spared the cancer which cut his life tragically short, Irish politics of the past four years would look very different. But Brian Lenihan was not spared. Naturally enough, the book comes to praise him, yet it is hard to see how anyone could argue with the view that he was the driving force behind this enormous adjustment. None can dispute that he did it all while suffering a terminal illness. One thing which emerges clearly from the book is how little anyone understood what was really happening. Mr Gilmore prefaced his treason accusation with the careful caveat, "if they knew". They did not know, but of course only the accusation stuck. The book deals delicately with that final illness, although the introduction by Noel Whelan, as well as Ms O'Rourke's own essay, are genuinely moving. But this is the big story, which can only grow with the passage of time: that of a dying man, who knew he was dying, bearing a burden greater than any Irish finance minister ever had to carry. The courage defies belief but if it is not also patriotism, it is difficult to know what is. --Brendan Keenan, reviewing for the Irish Independent --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

About the Author

Brian Murphy is a former speechwriter to two Taoisigh. Mary O'Rourke was a member of Dáil Éireann (1982 to 2002 & 2007 to 2011) and Leader of Seanad Éireann from 2002 to 2007. Noel Whelan is a barrister, Irish Times columnist and author of a number of books on Irish politics. --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

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3.9 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 January 2016
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 December 2014
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 October 2014
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J.Fintan Clarke
1.0 out of 5 stars A very disappointing book. It was obviously written by ...
Reviewed in the United States on 23 December 2014
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Michael Nolan
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting Book to read, special the backgrounds of ...
Reviewed in the United States on 26 November 2014
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Pat Tuohy
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Reviewed in the United States on 6 December 2014
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