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The Seven: The Lives and Legacies of the Founding Fathers of the Irish Republic Hardcover – 22 Mar 2016
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‘In telling the stories of perhaps the most influential of all Irish national heroes…Ruth Dudley Edwards has written a fascinating, balanced and highly readable book based on thorough research.’(The Times)
‘Fascinating and penetrating…innovative and engaging…can be welcomed as an important contribution to the discussion and a serious contribution to our understanding of an extremely complex and challenging period in modern Irish history.’(Irish Independent)
'With its sharp observations…as well as its demystifying impulse and wry alertness to every nuance of 1916-symbolism, The Seven is an important book. It disentangles the strands of motivation and aspiration which previous generations had tended to lump together'.(Times Literary Supplement)
‘Highly entertaining and engagingly irreverent.’(New York Times Book Review)
'Dudley Edwards…clearly knows how to entertain as well as inform. This book feels like the result of a lifetime's research, neatly condensed into a colourful narrative that readers of all political persuasions should be able to enjoy'.(Sunday Business Post)
'Dudley Edwards brings a forensic eye to these rebel lives'.(Literary Review)
'A first rate read. Moving the narrative along with colour, verve, pace and attitude'(Sunday Independent)
'If the Easter Rising was a passion play in which real gore was spilt, Dudley Edwards represents its leading actors as terrorists rather than freedom fighters. But she brings them to life with empathy and zest'.(Sunday Times)
'The sketches are succinct, sympathetic and sometimes mordantly funny'.(Evening Standard)
About the Author
Ruth Dudley Edwards is a leading commentator on Irish affairs in both the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. The author of several books on Irish history, including biographies of James Connolly and Patrick Pearse, she was awarded the James Tait Black Prize for her biography of Victor Gollancz. Ruth was born in Dublin and now lives in Westminster, London.
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The seven come over as real people, with different factors influencing their involvement in the Rising and as multilayered personalities who become involved for both deeply personal and simplistically political reasons. Pearse is running from the unacceptable in his own psyche, Plunkett from a lingering death from tuberculosis. Clarke hates everything the British Empire stands for and is determined to either strike a lasting blow or die in the attempt, and Mac Diarmaida is seeking direction and significance. Connolly wants a fairer world for everyone and sees revolution as a means to an end, Ceannt is at heart a Gaelic Leaguer who simply wants a free country, MacDonough an uncertain aspiring poet and dramatist who sees immortality in revolution. Agree with the author or not, the reader has plenty of food for thought and plenty of characters to ponder on.
I have been invited to attend my local book reading club. Their next subject is this book so I ordered it in paperback and received it promptly from Learnearly Books. I was expecting fairly concise biographys of The Seven, instead this is a very comprehensive study of all the characters involved in the run-up to the 1916 uprising from the late eighteenth century on.
It is a marvelous as far as I am aware unbiased book by an author who contributes regularly in the Northern Ireland and English newspapers. However it is unlikely that I am going to be able to finish it in time for the meeting.
One niggle: in the paperback the superscript asterisks to denote a footnote just appear as tiny dots in the text..
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