Since his death at the age of just 31, Michael Collins has cast a long shadow in Irish history. Of course, this is partly because of what he did not live to achieve. I remember my own father (who brought me up with tales of Collins and his bicycle, and whose uncle fought with the IRA) asking on his death-bed - "why did we kill the best of our own"? But as the years pass, it becomes clearer that Collins is remembered - and still loved - for what he did achieve in his short time on earth. He was the ruthless as the head of military intelligence that undermined British rule in Ireland. Collins felt the sentiment of nationalism as strongly as anyone, but he knew, especially after Easter 1916, that it was not enough for victory. And this is the essence of Tim Pat Coogan's well-researched and moving book. Collins' greatest achievement was not that he knew how to make war, but that he knew how to make peace. His greatest strength was not his courage in making war (which was great enough), but his courage in making peace. And in that sense, he has left his mark on Irish history and his spirit among the Irish.