- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 7790 KB
- Print Length: 325 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Merrion; 1 edition (27 Sept. 2014)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00NQDQ1I8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer reviews: 8 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #873,354 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Brian Lenihan: In Calm and Crisis Kindle Edition
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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.
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The essays dealing with the financial crisis are quite detailed and technical and it’s clear that the editors wanted to put the facts on record for history scholars to note so it is only with Mary McAleese (by far the best essay), Mary O’Rourke and Harman Murtagh that we get a glimpse of the person and the extraordinary stoicism and dedication that he, and his wife Patricia personified especially in his final illness. His essence also comes through in the vignettes of political campaigning brilliantly etched by two of his closest associates Brian Murphy and John Mullen.
You come away with a sense of a man who was highly intelligent, highly accomplished, a true Renaissance man, urbane, courteous and kind and unfailingly generous with his time, compassion and wisdom. He was steeped in the culture and cult of Irish politics but rose above it and rarely allowed partisanship to dictate his words or deeds. It is fitting then that the best tribute in this book (not one of the essays but extracts from Dail Tributes on his passing) should come from his constituency Fine Gael opponent, Leo Varadkar TD. It is sad that the present Government has so far failed to acknowledge the contribution of its immediate predecessors to the recovery – one gets the sense from this book that if the roles were reversed Brian Lenihan would have been big enough to do so.