That Neutral Island: A Cultural History of Ireland During the Second World War Hardcover – 15 Mar 2007
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'An excellent cultural history.' -- Guardian
'An impressively thorough account of an overlooked aspect of the Second World War.' -- Observer
'Engaging and comprehensive.' -- Sunday Times
'Wills ... reminds us in this wide-ranging and nicely researched account that for the Irish neutrality was certainly not the same as peace.' -- Sunday Telegraph
'Wills' impeccable history of Ireland's uneasy neutrality [is] an impressively thorough account of an overlooked aspect of the Second World War.' -- Observer
'[An] excellent cultural history.' -- Guardian
It's hard to imagine a fairer-minded guide...Her book not only
fills a gap...it is a model of exhaustive research and illuminating
example. -- Blake Morrison, Guardian
Sweeping in its scope, packed with telling details, written in an
easy, fluid style, this is a highly original book about a fascinating
period... Brilliant. -- Sunday Telegraph
What a pleasure to read...Simply the best ever social and cultural
history of Ireland during the second world war...This is a quite
outstanding book. -- Irish Independent
[A] fascinating, brilliant cultural history of Ireland during the
second World War. -- Irish Times
When the world descended into war in 1939, a few European countries remained neutral. Of the neutral states, none was more controversial than Ireland.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I would agree with some comments from another Amazon user on the author dwelling for too long and with too much emphasis on the writers of the period.
However, I would take issue with his comments about the other aspects of this book. I am not an historian, and perhaps there are better books than this about the "Emergency" - but I learnt a lot about Ireland's attitudes and politics in this period of history; and the effects of the war and de Valera's policies on Irish people at home and abroad.
Wills begins by setting the scene with a portrait of Ireland in the 1930s. With it, she illustrates just how rural and primitive much of the island was, with a growing contrast between the 'traditional' Ireland of poor farms and the 'modern' Ireland of towns and cities. It was in this context that Ireland was grappling with modernity on its own terms, with much of the resistance dictated by the influence of the Catholic church and attitudes of its adherents. Ireland was also only just beginning to emerge from the shadow of British rule, developing its own identity as a nation and dealing with such legacies as the remnants of the Irish Republican Army.
All of this underscores just how unprepared Ireland was to deal with the emerging war on the European continent. Wills reminds readers that Ireland's stance was no different from that of other small European countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark, none of whom had the resources (let alone the desire) to be drawn into a large-scale conflict.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As many reviewers have already outlined it is a disappointing book in that it focuses for the most part on a very narrow strata of Irish society, literary figures, and mainly... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Joseph O'Donnell
I bought this to find out what life was like in Ireland during the Second World War. This book hardly did that. Read morePublished 19 months ago by A W Brooks
The authoress is dishonest in having the subtitle "A history of Ireland during the second world war". Read morePublished on 18 Jun. 2008 by Mr. Dr. Sommerville
I was very much looking forward to getting an Irish perspective of the country during "The Emergency". Read morePublished on 13 Jun. 2008 by Mr. Dr. Sommerville
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