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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Read Ireland

Read Ireland Book Reviews – Issue 318 ------------------------------------- The IRA in Kerry 1916-1921 by Sinead Joy (Paperback; 14.00 Euro / 17.50 USD / 10.00 UK; 180 pages) The traditional view of the IRA in Ireland from 1916-1921 – of heroes living only for the republic – has come in for close scrutiny in recent years. This study dispels some of the myths and gives an alternative profile of the rebels active in Kerry. It questions their reasons for joining and their commitment to the notion of a republic. The result is sometimes critical as it considers the effects of the war on Kerry's civilian population and the varying level of support for the IRA. Overall this book presents an account of the perceptions of the community as a whole, Irish or British, Catholic or Protestant, fighter or civilian. --------------------------------------- The Flight of the Earls by John McCavitt (Paperback; 15.00 Euro / 19.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 278 pages) In 1607, Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, and other Gaelic chieftains, fled to the continent and settled in Rome. Their lands were declared forfeit to the Crown and cleared for the Plantation of Ulster that followed. Why did they flee? John McCavitt's widely praised study provides the answer to this, one of the enduring mysteries of Irish history. Following the failure of his rebellion in 1603, Hugh O'Neill made a successful peace with the royal government in London. He was left in possession of his lands, and his surrender was acknowledged. However, grasping crown officials in Dublin maintained a relentless campaign of harassment against him. It was this that prompted his flight, and that of the other Ulster Gaelic leaders. They saw it as a temporary expedient and intended to return, although they never did. Instead, their long, winding journey to Rome was an end, not a beginning. ---------------------------------- The Irish Examiner: 100 Years of News edited by Des O''Driscoll (Hardback; 25.00 Euro / 30.00 USD / 20.00 UK; 200 pages, with full colour photos throughout) The Irish Examiner - 100 Years of News is a unique presentation of events in Ireland and elsewhere during a remarkable and crowded century. Published to celebrate the designation of Cork as Europea n Capital of Culture in 2005, it provides a special perspective on life in Ireland during the previous one hundred years. Taken directly from the archives of the Irish Examiner are news stories and features exactly as they appeared, together with contemporary photographs, many in colour. Reproductions of pages from the paper provide wonderfully evocative reminders of events, both great and small, and of lifestyles from the past. History lives again on these pages: Michael Collins, John F Kennedy, Osama Bin Laden, the Civil Ware, two World Wars. There is also sport and entertainment: Christy Ring, Stephen Roche, Shergar, Roy Keane, Gay Byrne, JR Ewing. Coverage of major disasters is graphic and moving: the last pictures and reports form the Titanic as she steamed from Queenstown in 1912; the award winning coverage of the Air India tragedy in 1986. And of course there are politics - national and local - literature, arts, fashion, indeed the whole range of life in Ireland and abroad as seen through the eyes of generations of the writers and photographers of Ireland's oldest newspaper and the only national daily published outside Dublin. ------------------------------------- Out of the Shadows: A Journey Back from Grief by Susan Phoenix (Paperback; 14.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 11.00 UK; 224 pages) Susan lost her husband and both parents within the space of three months. This is the story of her recovery from shattering grief and her amazing discovery that our loved ones are still there for us, in the spirit world. When Susan's beloved husband Ian was killed in a helicopter accident in June 1994, she faced overwhelming despair. Her pain was compounded when her parents died just months later. But Susan had two children, a determined outlook and was on a mission to testify to the important work Ian had done in the struggle to bring peace and stability to Northern Ireland. She wrote a hugely successful book about Ian, but once she'd finished, she realised she herself was still in terrible pain. Gradually, though, she came to understand through the power of her angel guides and with help from clairvoyants that Ian was indeed, as she had suspected, still very much a real part of her life. This is a unique memoir of a one woman's struggle back from despair and of the inspirational help available to all of us from the spirit world. Susan never believed that she'd be beaten by what life had thrown at her and this is a story of warmth, humour, candour and faith to inspire us all. -------------------------------------- Irish Round Towers by Hector McDonnell (Small Paperback; 8.00 Euro / 12.00 USD / 5.00 UK; 56 pages) In this book the author presents an exciting theory on the numerous, enigmatic and unexplained ancient round towers of Ireland. ----------------------------------- Dry Stone Walls by Lawrence Garner (Small Paperback; 9.00 Euro / 12.00 USD / 5.00 UK) The dry stone walls of Ireland and Britain happen to be in areas which attract many tourists and so it is not surprising that the walls that are an integral part of the landscape should provoke so many questions. 'When were they built?', 'Who built them?', 'How do they stand up without cement?'. This book answers these and many other questions. The reasons for building dry stone walls, the story of their development, technical details of their construction, regional styles and the state of the craft today. Some old myths and legends are dispelled, in particular the mistaken idea that walling is a dying craft. ----------------------------------- Company of Three by Jennifer MacCann (Paperback; 10.00 Euro / 13.00 USD / 7.00 UK; 380 pages) Dublin is in full, trendy swing, with parties and atmosphere galore, but it seems to be passing Anna by. There's her editorial job at fusty publishers O'Sullivan and Hackett, continually under the thumb of her boss, the overindulged Linda. Then there's her home life, with a demented mother and her hippy boyfriend and a brother who does nothing much apart from take illegal substances. All that, and she's struggling to write a novel that isn't a copy of Jane Eyre. Then the gorgeous Angela comes into her life. Owner of a new-Age bookshop frequented by Dublin's lost and lonely, Angela is beautiful, witty and popular. And her flatmate Marcus is even more beautiful, witty and popular. Things are definitely looking up, or they would be, if only Anna would admit that Marcus is the man for her. Clearly, drastic action is needed... ---------------- Available Again: ---------------- Northern Protestants: An Unsettled People by Susan McKay (Paperback; 20.00 Euro / 26.00 USD / 14.00 UK; 390 pages) Presenting and analysing over 60 in-depth interviews with northern Protestants, this work aims to impart an understanding of the range and complexity of Protestant attitudes in Northern Ireland. Within the overall Protestant community there is much dissent - there are those who utterly condemn the loyalist paramilitaries, for example, and there are those paramilitaries who despise unionists who, they argue, rely on them to defend Ulster while washing their hands of responsibility. While some Protestants feel relatively comfortable about developments and would welcome an end to the notion of of a Protestant state for a Protestant people, the majority feel a sense of losing ground, of being under threat, of being betrayed. First published in 2000; new updated edition. ------------------------------------- Inchicore Kilmainham and District by Seasamh O Broin (Large Paperback with Endflaps; 25.00 Euro / 30.00 USD / 20.00 UK; 310 pages, with black-and-white illustrations throughout) This is a local Irish history which is more than a local Irish history. It concerns an area where, over the centuries, many of the varied threads of Ireland's story have come together. Inchicore and Kilmainham have contributed significantly to the political, religious, military and industrial history of the City of Dublin as well as of Ireland. -------------------------------- Ancient Ireland: From Prehistory to the Middle Ages by Jacqueline O'Brien and Peter Harbison (Large Hardback; 30.00 Euro / 36.00 USD / 22.00 UK; 250 pages, full colour illustrations throughout) This work concentrates on the rich architectural heritage of both early and late medieval Ireland, preceded by an introduction on the groundwork laid by the Celts. The legacy of this period - manuscripts and metalwork, churches and great stone crosses, family tower houses and feudal castles have all been photographed by O'Brien and documented by Harbison for this book. Maps, charts and timelines afford the reader greater understanding of the complex world of medieval Ireland. ----------------------------------- Dublin: A Grand Tour by Jacqueline O'Brien w/ Desmond Guinness (Large Hardback; 30.00 Euro / 36.00 USD / 22.00 UK; 250 pages, full colour illustrations throughout) In the same expansive format as the highly successful Great Irish Houses and Castles, this book traces the development of Dublin's architectural and decorative styles up to the beginning of the 20th century. The city is renowned for its atmospheric Georgian terraces but until now very little has been seen of the beautiful interiors behind these orderly fa(;ades. Many of the great public buildings too, like the Custom House, have recently been cleaned or restored and are captured here in all their sparkling glory. With a text containing the latest research as well as entertaining anecdotes, this is a "grand tour". ---------------------------------- Islanders by Peadar O'Donnell (Paperback; 10.00 Euro / 13.00 USD / 7.00 UK; 130 pages) Islanders is a story of epic simplicity, of people who confront in their daily lives hunger, poverty and death, on a small island community in Donegal, written by one of Ireland's greatest literary and historical figures. ----------------- New in Paperback: ----------------- Children of Eve by Deirdre Purcell (10.00 Euro / 13.00 USD / 7.00 UK; 496 pages) Why would a mother abandon her children? Eve Moraghan broke one of the great taboos when she abandoned her children as toddlers. Now adults, Arabella, Willow and Rowan have heard nothing of their mother since the day she walked out the door, headed no one knows where. Why she went, they just don't know. But now, it seems, they're about to find out. Their mother's been in an accident, and she's sent word that she wants to see her children. The first reaction is to tell her to forget it. She gave up on them - why should they jump when she says so? And yet somehow they each find themselves on that plane, making the journey that will tell them what their past was all about - and open new doors into the future. ----------------------------------- Highlights from the Previous Issue: ----------------------------------- Noisy Island: A Short History of Irish Popular Music by Gerry Smyth (Hardback; 20.00 Euro / 26.00 USD / 14.00 UK; 178 pages) Irish contemporary popular music has had remarkable international success, but relatively little scholarly attention. Analysis of cultural identity has been dominated by the literary canon, yet music has been crucial in constructions and definitions of Irishness since the late eighteenth century. This trail-blazing book is the first cultural history of Irish rock music from the 1960s to the present. Using theoretical perspectives drawn from cultural criticism and music studies, Gerry Smyth shows how Irish rock music has engaged with issues of national identity at every level, from music to performance to distribution and publicity. The big names, such as Rory Gallagher, Van Morrison, U2, Thin Lizzy, emerge in a new light, as they, together with less well-known artists, like Northern Ireland bands, Ash and the Undertones, are examined in terms of the economic, sociological and political factors which conditioned their music. The book also looks at the roots of Irish rock in the Show-band era, the influence of folk and traditional music, and the legacy of punk. It looks at the opportunities and challenges facing Irish Rock at a time of increasing commercialisation and globalisation. It includes a substantial discography. --------------------------------- A Memoir by Terry De Valera (Paperback; 15.00 Euro / 19.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 361 pages) My mother told me that when I was but a few weeks old she said to my father "I think that there is going to be a wave in Terry's hair" and when he showed no interest, she rebuked him. She again tried to attract his attention and as she did he replied "How can I mind about the wave in Terry's hair when they are fighting in the Four Courts?" Into a very volatile Ireland, Terry de Valera was born in June 1922. In this memoir he recounts events in his life and that of his family against the ongoing changing political landscape of the Civil War, the threat of World War II, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 1916 Rising, the ultimate demise of his very famous parents, Eamon and Sinead de Valera, and the growth of his own family, including of course his daughter Sile, who is also a TD and minister. Terry draws too on his mother's memories, which he asked her to commit to paper, to provide a fascinating pen picture of Ireland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In addition to matters political, there is also much which will appeal to those interested in music and the arts. A recognised expert on Chopin and John Field, Terry de Valera's enthusiasm in describing these men and their work is infectious. So too, his reminiscences on various Irish artists. This is at once a very personal memoir, but is guaranteed to be of interest to anyone keen to learn more about one of Ireland's foremost political families, from the inside. ----------------------------------- Welcome to Hell: One Man's Fight for Life Inside the Bangkok Hilton by Colin Martin (Paperback; 15.00 Euro / 19.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 230 pages) Written from his cell and smuggled out page by page, Colin Martin's autobiography chronicles an innocent man's struggle to survive inside one of the world's most dangerous prisons. This book is not for the faint hearted; Welcome to Hell takes you behind the bars of the Bandkok Hilton. After being swindled out of a fortune, Colin was let down by the hopelessly corrupt Thai police. Forced to rely upon his own resources, he tracked down the man who conned him and, drawn into a fight, accidentally stabbed and killed that man's bodyguard. Colin was arrested, denied a fair trial, convicted of murder and thrown into prison – where he remained for 8 years. Honest and often disturbing – but told with a surprising humour – Welcome to Hell is the remarkable story of how Colin was denied justice again and again. In his extraordinary account he describes the swindle, his arrest and vicious torture by police, the unfair trial, and the 8 years of brutality and squalor he was forced to endure. ---------------------------------- My Oedipus Complex and Other Stories by Frank O'Connor (Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 17.50 USD / 9.00 UK; 361 pages) This collection of Frank O'Connor's short stories displays to the fullest his versatility, humour and insight in tales about childhood and marriage, sex and religion, way and old age. Here, O'Connor depicts young boys convinced of their own genius or locked in hilarious rivalry with their fathers, and IRA soldiers who must make heartbreaking decisions in the midst of a baffling war. In other takes an old woman threatens to haunt her son if he fails to bury her at her old home, while a scandal threatens to ignite when a floral wreath is sent anonymously to a priest's funeral. In these beautiful evocations of ordinary life – both comic and tragic – O'Connor portrays small moments that take the reader to the psychological truth at the heart of his characters. ---------------------------------- An Only Child and My Father's Son by Frank O'Connor (Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 17.50 USD / 9.00 UK; 347 pages) Frank O'Connor's two volumes of autobiography take him from his impoverished Cork boyhood to his early life as a writer. At the heart of An Only Child is an extraordinary portrait of his mother – strong, loving and resilient. As well, there are splendid descriptions of his melancholy father, their Dickensian neighbours, his inspiring teacher and the ordinary people caught up in the Irish Civil War. My Father's Son describes O'Connor's journey from the internment camp in which he was imprisoned as a Republican soldier to the literary circles of Dublin. His friendship with W.B. Yeats, interrupted yet strengthened by their skirmishes about the new Abbey Theatre, forms the centre of this book. Told with deep compassion and a sharp eye for revealing detail, those works form an engaging and lively record of a young Irishman's artistic and emotional development. ---------------------------------------------- Thank you for your continued support. It is vital for the continuation of this service! I respectfully request that if you are considering ordering any of these books that you do so through Read Ireland. I very much appreciate your patronage. To order books from the Read Ireland Book Review, you can send an email to the order department at: Please be sure to include your mailing address and credit card details. You can of course also post your order to: Read Ireland, 392 Clontarf Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3,Ireland. Telephone and Facsimile number is: +353-1-853-2063. Read Ireland Web Site Home Page: or We have added a new feature to the Read Ireland website. It is a page listing ONLY the newest books added to or updated on the website. This new feature page will itself be superseded at least 3 times per month. It is the perfect way to keep abreast of what is happening in the world of Irish Interest publishing. Please visit often! If we can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you very much for your continued support and custom. Sincerely, Gregory Carr @ Read Ireland
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