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on 15 April 2010
This is the third volume of Doyle's trilogy about Henry Smart, the IRA fighter whose experiences in the first two volumes of the trilogy describes his early years as a political rebel experiencing the violence of the Irish independence struggle and his subsequent flight to America and his encounters with jazz legends. The third volume takes us from the 1940s to much more recent times as Henry Smart returns to Ireland and finds himself once more caught up in the republican conflict.

The first section of the book deals with his experience working with John Ford on the development of The Quiet Man, whilst you have to admire the detail of Doyle's historial research, I did feel that this element of Henry's life lacked the energy and pace of the previous novels. The writer seemed to be more interesting in the process of moviemaking and the Hollywood treatment given to Henry's story and it took a while for his character to take hold of the narrative and to give it momentum.

As the novel develop, Henry finds work as a school caretaker and a gardener, is somewhat implausibly reunited with the love of his life and becomes a figurehead for the republican movement as a result of mistaken idenitiy. The novel contains pace and tempo in its latter stages but never really reaches the brilliance of the first two books in the trilogy.
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(3.5 stars) Thirty-five years after Henry Smart became one of the heroes of the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916, Henry is in Hollywood, where he is an "IRA consultant" to director John Ford, who plans to make a film about Henry's life. The making of this film and its aftermath become a major focus of this final novel in the "The Last Round-Up" trilogy which author Roddy Doyle had intended to reflect Ireland's history from its independence to the present day. A STAR CALLED HENRY, the first of the series, establishes Henry's background as a poverty-stricken child and the reasons for his willingness to put his life on the line in the General Post Office takeover in 1916, when he was only fourteen, and follows him through the War for Independence from 1919 - 1922. The second book of the trilogy, OH, PLAY THAT THING, takes Henry, on the lam from mobsters in Ireland in 1922, to Chicago and eventually Hollywood.

At the outset of this third novel, Henry comes into contact with director John Ford, who begins talks with Henry about a film he plans to make about Henry's life--"The Quiet Man." Ford wants to celebrate Ireland's beauty (and sell more tickets) by removing all references to the War for Independence and the IRA. "No one gets shot in the back. No one gets shot at all," Ford declares, though this is not the Ireland that Henry has seen up close and personal as an IRA assassin. When Henry abandons the project, Ford goes on to make "The Quiet Man" with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara--a sentimental romance celebrating the Ireland that Ford and many other Irish-Americans want to remember. In Part II, Henry, now fifty, has returned to Ireland, where he works as a caretaker at a school for underprivileged boys and lives a quiet life, until he is eventually "called" again by the IRA. For Henry, "[Ireland] was [now] worse than it had been when [he] was young...The country was already dead."

Though the dialogue is, as always, bright and lively, the novel and the trilogy itself are structurally confused, the emotional triumph of the Easter Rising from the first novel lost in a Hollywoodized version of reality in the second novel and in much of the third. Doyle does attempt to bring the novel back to its revolutionary roots by reconnecting Henry Smart with the Provos and the disastrous bombings of Dublin by the Ulster Defense Force in 1974, then bringing it further up to date with the elections held in 1980, as imprisoned republicans, like Bobby Sands, imprisoned in Long Kesh, go on a hunger strike. This concluding section is the most vibrant part of the novel.

Those who are unfamiliar with the preceding two novels will have a difficult time understanding who the characters are, and as the action cuts back and forth in time without warning, even someone familiar with the trilogy will sometimes be hard pressed to figure out what is happening. Henry's return to Ireland does not result in much greater enlightenment regarding the purpose of the trilogy and the reasons for its many changes of direction. The lives of the Irish revolutionaries become lost in the scenery, as Henry Smart and his legacy go out, not with a bang but a whimper. Mary Whipple

A Star Called Henry: The Last Roundup, 1
Oh, Play That Thing (Last Roundup)
The Woman Who Walked into Doors
Paula Spencer
The Barrytown Trilogy: "The Commitments", "The Snapper" and "The Van"
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VINE VOICEon 3 June 2016
Henry Smart returns in the final volume of Doyle's account of an Irish revolutionary in the Twentieth century. In the course of the novel Henry ages from early fifties to 108 years old. This speaks volumes about the novel's plausibility as a whole, but it is a lot of fun, makes many serious points about Irish history and also packs a strong sense of menace in its latter stages when the Provisional IRA become involved. I found this a very readable, entertaining story, especially the first part which focuses on John Ford and the genesis and concept of his film, 'The Quiet Man'.
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on 25 October 2011
All good things must come to an end, so they say, and this book rounds off the trilogy with our hero, Henry Smart being rescued from a dry and lonely death in Monument Valley by Henry Fonda who was there filming with John Houston. From there he is courted by Houston who promises to make a film of Henry`s life, but ends up making "The Quiet Man" instead. Smart returns to Ireland for the making of the film and stays on, bitterly disappointed, through the poor quiet times and through the troubles right up to the present day. During this period he is used and abused by all and sundry while being re-united with his wife and with his daughter, but for Henry, nothing is ever as straight forward as it should be. Henry faces his hardest battle against the coming of old age, but Doyle makes you believe that, despite the aches and pains, Henry will go on as long as the water keeps flowing. I enjoyed the first book, "A Star called Henry" best, but once you`ve read that one you`ve got to find out what happens next.
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on 18 January 2013
Roddy Doyle completes his Henry Smart trilogy, bringing him back to Ireland in the company of John Ford who has set his mind to telling Henry's rebellious story in the cinema. If you have not read the previous two instalments, and especially A Star Called Henry, then you will have trouble relating to much of The Dead Republic. If you are up to date, then Doyle has completed the circle admirably, with much humour and not a little grit.

Henry epitomises the romantic notion of a rebel with a cause, a core of steel, the love of a feisty woman and the world's biggest don't-give-a-damn attitude. One gets the distinct impression that his frustration with the ever-complex political landscape would be most easily resolved if Henry could simply shoot anyone with whom he had a slight disagreement.

Back in Ireland, Doyle once more displays a skill with native dialogue that few can match, one can hear it, rich and ringing, it, more than anything else, speaks of place and time and history and the hope that never goes away.

Henry has always been the character who would always silently enthral any dinner party and be the person you would least like to be on the wrong side of, lethal with weapon and word he could cut you dead with either, probably both.
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on 9 February 2014
I felt that The Dead Republic was very different to the other Henry Smart books. The change in tone is perhaps reflected in the hero's return home. I thought the other two were very enjoyable. The writing is as strong, but there's a bitter-sweetness to this one that even the ending of Oh Play that Thing - with his loss of family and reduction in status (yet again) to vagabond - lacked. Lots to recommend it but I wouldn't read it as a standalone. You will want to finish the trilogy if you start it (which I highly recommend), and it's a strong enough final book in that regard.
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on 6 October 2013
Henry Smart comes home and everyone needs to watch it. Roddy Doyle's larger than life character has been at the centre of the 20th century's greatest developments in music, film, politics and terrorism. I love this character and the stories and Roddy Doyle's writing is a joy. Get the other two parts of the trilogy as well. You'll read them again and again.
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on 13 February 2013
I loved the first in this series but neither 2nd or 3rd have met that standard. Had to get it to complete the story
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on 16 November 2013
I just simply love Roddy Doyle, and was very happy that I could buy all his work at amazon. The book arrived in good time, so I could start reading it just a couple of days after ordering it.
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on 15 March 2013
Doyle has the ability to cover a wide ranging topic in a way that teaches without preaching.
A great achievement!
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