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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Read Ireland

PITY FOR THE WICKED by Brian Lynch is a book-length poem on Northern Ireland. In his preface Conor Cruise O’Brien says: ‘Sinn Féin-IRA are now isolated in Ireland, but not quite finished yet. I hope and believe that the publication of Brian Lynch’s book will help further to contribute to their isolation, and eventual disappearance from the political map of Ireland.’ A lengthy introduction analyses, inter alia, Garret FitzGerald’s part in what the former Taoiseach has called ‘the heroic self-abnegation’ of the SDLP. As well as being a poet – described by Samuel Beckett as an ‘exceptional talent’ – Lynch is also an award-winning TV dramatist, a screenwriter and a novelist. In October New Island Books will publish ‘The Winner of Sorrow’, which is based on the life of the 18th century English poet William Cowper. About ‘Pity for the Wicked’ (Duras Press €15) the critics said: ‘Brian Lynch’s extraordinary testament is like a shattering alarm in the middle of the night.’ Gerald Dawe, The Irish Times ‘The lines on Margaret Wright are almost unbearably moving… This is a powerful piece, a necessary mirror held up to nature, a tract for the times.’ Senator Maurice Hayes, The Irish Independent See full texts of reviews and more on Brian has generously offered to send 5 signed copies of his new book to selected Read Ireland customers. If you are interested in receiving a free copy of this book, please send me an email ( containing your name and full mailing address and the reason why you want this book! The five ‘best’ answers will win. Entries close on Friday the 17th of September. ------------------------------------- Read Ireland Book Reviews – Issue 319 ------------------------------------- An Irish History of Civilization: Volume One by Don Akenson (Hardback; 35.00 Euro / 42.00 USD / 25.00 UK; 826 pages) St Patrick catching sight of Ireland for the first time as he is taken there as a prisoner...Joyce and Yeats eating sticky buns in a Dublin cafe...There has never before been an Irish history book remotely like this one, composed as a vast mosaic of incidents, encounters and vignettes. It is not so much a 'history of Irish civilization' as an 'Irish history of civilization'. In telling a wide range of stories about the Irish everywhere this historical-fictional account of the Irish peoples around the globe from the time of Christ to 1969 opens up the really big issues - the relationship between the minute particulars and the larger patterns which gradually become apparent. The stories themselves are by turns funny, acerbic, ironic, score-settling - never quite what they seem at face value. They are also deeply informed by the author's vast knowledge of Ireland, its history and its diaspora. For once the hyperbole is true - after this book, Irish history will never be the same again. ---------------------------------------- The Squad and the Intelligence Operations of Michael Collins by T. Ryle Dwyer (Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 17.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 270 pages) In 1919, Michael Collins conceived of a scheme to knock out the eyes and ears of the British Administration at Dublin Castle by undermining and terrorising the police so that the British would react blindly and drive the Irish people into the arms of the Irish Republican Army. The Bureau of Military History interviewed those involved in this scheme in the early 1950s with the assurance that the material would not be published in their lifetimes. A few of the contributions were made available by the families of those involved, but the bulk of them have only recently been released. This the first book to make use of those interviews. It makes fascinating, almost unique reading, because they contain first-hand descriptions in which men speaking candidly of their involvement in killing selected people at close range. As a result it throws a considerable amount of new light on the activities of the Squad and the intelligence operations of Michael Collins. ---------------------------------------- Dictionary of Munster Women Writers, 1800-2000 edited by Tina O’Toole (Hardback; 30.00 Euro / 36.00 USD / 24.00 UK; 325 pages) The subjects range from well-known figures like Kate O'Brien or Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, to a host of forgotten or neglected writers, singers or storytellers, and some brought to public notice for the first time. The Dictionary interprets "writers" very broadly, and includes unpublished diaries, journals, and letters, together with plays, documentaries, film-scripts and journalism, cookery books and manuals, as well as fiction and poetry. Many of the Irish language entries relate to contributions to the folk and song traditions rather to more conventional forms of writing. The project has been devised, in part, as a feminist recovery of women's writing, especially over periods when the surrounding society and culture had a distinctly patriarchal character (and women, for example, often wrote under male pen-names or anonymously), but it also offers a rich source work for those interested in local or regional identities, and a wide range of literary issues and figures. In conjunction with (and profoundly influenced by) the Field-Day Anthology of Irish Writing: Irish Womens' Writing and Traditions, this Dictionary will stimulate further research and inquiry and be an indispensable source book for many decades to come. ------------------------------------ Dublin: A Cultural and Literary History by Siobhan Kilfeather (Paperback; 19.00 Euro / 27.00 USD / 13.00 UK; 300 pages) This book is a history of Dublin, with a remarkable feel for the way the past is embodied in bridges and alleyways, sculpture and slums. But in classical Dublin manner it also ambles and diverges, pausing to illuminate the reader about a whole range of subjects from duels to theatres, maternity hospitals to prisons, the Book of Kells to Bono, Politics, industry, painting, architecture, feminism, poetry, famine, armed insurrection: these are a mere handful of the topics explored in this extraordinarily rich account. Like all the finest surveys, it combines a deep affection for its subject with an astutely critical eye. There are a good many guides to contemporary Dublin, and a shelf-load of histories of the place; but to combine the two, as Kilfeather has done in the spirit of this series, is a rare achievement. ------------------------------------ Beautiful Dreamer by Liz Ryan Large format Paperback; 15.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 278 pages) The bestselling author of THE YEAR OF HER LIFE and ONE MORE CHANCE returns with a captivating story of a woman searching for her true identity. Ciara has never needed to stand on her own two feet. Since she married handsome pilot Jake Lunny nearly twenty years ago she's devoted her life to running their attractive home, cooking, socialising and playing golf to further Jake's career. She spends Jake's money on keeping herself as beautiful as the day he met her: endless gym classes, diets and beauty products. After all her most important role is to look the part. And if beauty is only skin deep, then Ciara is the perfect wife. But her secure world crumbles after she witnesses a secretive glance between her husband and twenty-one-year-old Roisin at a dinner party. Ciara is bewildered to discover her husband's interest in this plain, mousy girl. When Jake leaves home to 'find himself' Ciara embarks on plastic surgery to entice him home. It takes her neighbour, independent fashion-designer Lee Warner, to teach Ciara that Jake might be looking for more than mere beauty in his wife. And for the first time, Ciara is forced to ask the question, 'Who am I?'. -------------------------------------- How Will I Know? By Sheila O’Flanagan (Large Format Paperback; 15.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 425 pages) It was love at first sight for Claire and Bill Hudson. They met at Claire's fifth birthday party and they were destined to be together for the rest of their lives. When baby Georgia came along, it was the icing on the cake. So when a tragic accident snatched Bill away, Claire felt like she'd lost everything - except Georgia. In the three years since, Claire has devoted her life to Georgia; she knows no man could ever replace Bill, and the child needs all her attention. Now Georgia's a teenager, though, and there's one thing Claire can't advise her on: dating. And so, purely to help her lovely young daughter in her journey through the teenage years. Claire sets out on some serial dating. And destiny is watching, again... ----------------------------------- The Set-Up by Liz Allen (Paperback; 10.00 Euro / 13.00 USD / 7.00 UK; 440 pages) In the bestselling style of Martina Cole comes this nail-biting thriller pitting a ruthless villain against a tough but vulnerable woman. Number One disappears after a night out with her girlfriends. She was young, successful and beautiful. Number Two disappears after working late at the office. She was young, successful and beautiful. Number Three disappears after a business trip to New York. She was young, successful and beautiful. The Dublin police are baffled, and call in Kate Waters, crime profiler, to give them a lead. Kate welcomes the job, but she has a history with the lead detective on the case, Timmy Vaughan, and they both fight to keep things on a firmly professional footing. As the investigation progresses, Kate and Vaughan realise they are dealing with some of Dublin's most vicious criminals - and that they seem to have an informer within their own ranks. ----------------------------------- Celtic Angels by Donald McKinney (Trade Paperback; 17.00 Euro / 23.00 USD / 11.00 UK; 286 pages) Top Celtic expert reveals how to forge a long-term, life-changing relationship with your own Celtic angel. Angels have long been a source of protection, comfort, wisdom and joy, providing guidance and helping us to discover the connection between our day-to-day existence and our spiritual needs. For the ancient Celts, angels were a part of everyday life and were often thought of as a confidant, companion and counseller all in one. These powers of companionship, guidance and inspiration are needed now more than ever in our demanding modern world. In this illuminating guide, Donald McKinney reveals the secrets of the spiritual world inhabited by the Celtic angels, their role in the lives of the ancient Celts, and how to seek out and work with your personal angelic guide. Everyone's angel is waiting to help - with anything from day-to-day problems, to accessing your ancestors, to exploring your personal spiritual path through life. -------------------------- New in Paperback This Week: -------------------------- The Transformation of Ireland 1900-2000 by Diarmaid Ferriter (Paperback; 20.00 Euro / 26.00 USD / 13.00 UK; 884 pages) In 1900 Ireland was a restless, impoverished, neglected corner of the British Empire. By 2000 it had become the 'Celtic Tiger'. How did this happen? And what of those who lived through it? In the first comprehensive account of Ireland in the twentieth century, Diarmaid Ferriter draws together the complex threads that make up Ireland's story- from the high drama of its politics, to the 'hidden pasts' drawn from memoirs and previously unused sources; from the bitter struggles over the North to religion, literature, family and football. ---------------------- New Edition: ------------ An Atlas of Irish History by Ruth Dudley Edwards (Large Format Paperback; 23.00 Euro / 29.00 USD / 15.00 UK; 300 pages) The history of Ireland and its people is one of incredible richness and variety. Combining over 100 beautifully crafted maps, charts and graphs with a narrative packed with facts and information, An Atlas of Irish History provides coverage of the main political, military, economic, religious and social changes that have occurred in Ireland and among the Irish abroad over the past two millennia. Ruth Dudley Edwards uses the combination of thematic narrative and visual aids to examine and illustrate issues such as: the Viking invasions of Ireland the Irish in Britain pre- and post-famine agriculture population change twentieth-century political affiliations. This new third edition has been comprehensively revised and updated to include coverage of the many changes that have occurred in Ireland and among its people overseas. Taking into consideration the main issues that have developed since 1981, and adding a number of new maps and graphs, this new edition also includes an informative and detailed section on the troubles that have been a feature of Irish life since 1969. ------------------------- Highlights from 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... --------------------------------- 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. ---------------------------------- Children of Eve by Deirdre Purcell (Paperback; 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. ------------------------------------------- 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 – simply return the Newsletter by clicking your reply button. Please delete the books you do not want and leaving the books you want to order. Alternatively, 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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