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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Read Ireland

As you may have heard, on Monday October 10, Irish-author John Banville won the 2005 Man Booker Prize for his recent novel 'The Sea', which was Read Ireland's Book of the Month for Fiction in July. Here is what we said: The brilliant new novel by the Booker-shortlisted author of Shroud and The Book of Evidence, John Banville is, quite simply, one of the greatest novelists writing in the English language today. When Max Morden returns to the coastal town where he spent a holiday in his youth he is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma. The Grace family appear that long ago summer as if from another world. Drawn to the Grace twins, Chloe and Myles, Max soon finds himself entangled in their lives, which are as seductive as they are unsettling. What ensues will haunt him for the rest of his years and shape everything that is to follow. John Banville is one of the most sublime writers working in the English language. Utterly compelling, profoundly moving and illuminating, The Sea is quite possibly the best thing he has ever written. We have copies of this book available for sale: Hardback Edition: 22 Euro Signed Hardback Edition: 35 Euro Signed First Edition First Printing: 150 Euro (2 copies only) (International Airmail P+P 5 Euro) Paperback edition not due to be published until next summer. US edition not due for publication until February 2006. Announcement of the Prize in the Irish Times: Article in the Independent (UK): Sincerely, Gregory Carr, Bookseller Read Ireland ---------------------------------- Read Ireland Book News - Issue 324 ---------------------------------- History's Daughter: A Memoir of the Only Child of Terence MacSwiney by Maire MacSwiney Brugha (Hardback; 28.00 Euro / 34.00 USD / 20.00 UK; 320 pages, with black-and-white photos throughout) Maire MacSwiney Brugha is the only child of Terence MacSwiney, one of the greatest figures in Ireland's history, who died after seventy-three days on hunger strike in Brixton Prison on 25 October 1920. His death became worldwide news. After her father's death, Maire was taken by her mother to live on the continent. For nine years she lived away from Ireland, mostly in Germany and occasionally in Paris. She grew up effectively as a German child, speaking the language and attending school at a time when her adopted country would shortly descend into chaos. In the early thirties, when she was still in her early teens, Maire made a dramatic escape with her aunt, Maire MacSwiney, home to Ireland, against her mother's wishes. This led to a court case claiming Maire had been kidnapped but this claim was strongly refuted and Maire remained with her aunt in Cork. In 1945, she married Ruairi Brugha, the son of another famous republican, Cathal Brugha, thus uniting two of Ireland's most prominent and revered nationalist families. ----------------------------------- Young Tigers and Mongrel Foxes: A Life in Politics by Paddy Harte (Hardback; 25.00 Euro / 30.00 USD / 20.00 UK; 350 pages, with an 8-page black-and-white photo insert) Much more than another political memoir, this is an honest, no-punches-pulled account of Irish politics by a man who served as a Dail Deputy for thirty-six years, including a revealing appraisal of the personalities and leadership of James Dillon, Liam Cosgrave, Garret FitzGerald, Alan Dukes and John Bruton. With a constituency adjoining the Border, Paddy Harte had a particular understanding of the Northern situation and the book discloses his pioneering attempts to create dialogue between activists and politicians on all sides of the divide at a time when such contact was unheard of. -------------------------------------- The Encyclopedia of Dublin: Revised and Expanded by Douglas Bennett (Hardback; 30.00 Euro / 36.00 USD / 24.00 UK; 336 pages) In the 12 years since first publication of Douglas Bennett's Encyclopaedia of Dublin, the city it described has changed beyond recognition. This new edition reflects those changes. In addition to re-writing most existing entries, he has included over eighty new ones. Among the new entries are articles on the Digital Hub, The Dublin Docklands Development Authority, the Port Tunnel, the new signage system for orbital routes, the Ringsend Sewage Treatment Works, the Spire, and Standfast Dick. The Encyclopaedia of Dublin is the standard reference work on the city. This new edition will consolidate Douglas Bennett's reputation as the outstanding contemporary chronicler of the Irish capital. --------------------------------------- Dublin Review Number 20 Autumn 2005 edited by Brendan Barrington (Paperback; 7.50 Euro / 10.50 USD / 5.00 UK; 112 pages) This issue contains: Why we need another Collins biography: How did he get it? How did he use it? by Peter Hart. Foreign Laughter: Translating the Hungarians by George Szirtes. Irish Citizenship: Shifting Boundaries by Belinda McKeon. Breakfast in Hiroshima (from The Third Party) by Glenn Patterson. Land Clearance: Landscape and memoir in the Sudentenlands by Justin Quinn. The Strangeness of Elizabeth Bowen by George O'Brien. Stories: Monkey Island by Lisa Steppe, The Retreat from Moscow by Philip O Ceallaigh. ----------------------------------- Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horsley (Paperback; 12.00 Euro / 15.00 USD / 9.00 UK; 190 pages) Cloistered in a stone cell at the monastery of St. Brigid, a sixth-century Irish nun secretly records the memories of her Pagan youth, interrupting her assigned task of transcribing Augustine and Patrick. She also writes of her fiercely independent mother, whose skill with healing plants and inner strength she inherited. She writes of her druid teacher, the brusque but magnetic Giannon, who first introduced her to the mysteries of written language. But disturbing events at the cloister keep intervening. As the monastery is rent by vague and fantastic accusations, Gwynneve's words become the one force that can save her from annihilation. ------------------------------------- The Changeling by Kate Horsely (Large Format Paperback; 16.00 Euro / 20.00 USD / 11.00 UK; 340 pages) Here, the author of the acclaimed Confessions of a Pagan Nun takes us to fourteenth-century Ireland for a strange and luminous tale of the elusive nature of identity and of triumph in adversity. The Changeling of Finnistuath is the story of Grey, a peasant girl who is raised as a boy, and who, until adolescence, never doubts herself to be male. The revelation of her womanhood marks the beginning of her journey-including son, whore, warrior, and mother-each of which brings its own special wisdom, but none of which, she discovers, can ultimately define her. In the course of her adventurous life, Grey deals with all the challenges of her tumultuous age-from political oppression to corrupt Church hierarchy to the horrors of the Black Death-ultimately finding peace and a kind of redemption by embracing the beautifully impermanent quality of identity that her unusual life has enabled her to understand. --------------------------- New in Paperback This Week: --- ------------------------ Colors: Ireland from Bombs to Boom by Henry McDonald (Paperback; 12.00 Euro / 15.00 USD / 8.00 UK; 256 pages) Henry McDonald's childhood and teenage years were dominated by the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Growing up in the Markets - a working-class Catholic district of central Belfast - he witnessed IRA men and British soldiers being shot down outside his door. His home was smashed up by the British troops on Internment Day in 1971, then bombed by loyalist terrorists four years later. But despite being caught up in the maelstrom of incipient civil war, McDonald managed to escape his background. He became a punk rocker in 1977 and, a year later, joined a group of young soccer hooligans who followed Irish League side Cliftonville. Colours, however, is more than just a memoir about the formative years of someone born in the epicentre of political and sectarian conflict. McDonald time-travels in two directions: first, back to the dark days of Ulster's violent past; second, into the twenty-first century, using some of the key incidents of his boyhood and youth to compare the Ireland of the past with the Ireland of today. It is a journey that takes him from the GPO in Dublin, a revered site in the history of Irish republicanism where the 1916 Easter Rising was launched, to the sex shops and swinging parties of postmodern hedonistic Dublin. Filled with football thugs, terrorists, paedophile priests, abuse survivors, drug dealers, comic writers and modern-day martyrs, Colours exposes Ireland in all its complexity and diversity, as seen through the eyes of someone who has experienced first-hand an island and a nation undergoing revolutionary changes. ---------------- Available Again: ---------------- Preventing the Future: Why Was Ireland So Poor for Son Long? by Tom Garvin (Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 16.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 340 pages) Between the years of the mid thirties through to 1960, independent Ireland suffered from economic stagnation, and also went through a period of intense cultural and psychological repression. While external circumstances account for much of the stagnation - especially the depression of the thirties and the Second World War - "Preventing the Future" argues that the situation was aggravated by internal circumstances. The key domestic factor was the failure to extend higher and technical education and training to larger sections of the population. This derived from political stalemates in a small country which derived in turn from the power of the Catholic Church, the strength of the small-farm community, the ideological wish to preserve an older society and, later, gerontocratic tendencies in the political elites and in society as a whole. While economic growth did accelerate after 1960, the political stand-off over mass education resulted in large numbers of young people being denied preparation for life in the modern world and, arguably, denied Ireland a sufficient supply of trained labour and educated citizens. Ireland's Celtic Tiger of the nineties was in great part driven by a new and highly educated and technically trained workforce. The political stalemates of the forties and fifties delayed the initial, incomplete take-off until the sixties and resulted in the Tiger arriving nearly a generation later than it might have. -------------------------------------- 1922: The Birth of Irish Democracy by Tom Garvin (Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 16.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 244 pages) This book examines the birth of the Irish state and sets it in its European historical context. The process of democratic nation-making reached full fruition while a vicious civil war was raging, ostensibly fought over points of political principle but actually deciding whether Ireland was to be ruled by popular majority will or by a virtuous but unaccountable minority. Garvin argues that militant republicanism always lacked popular, democratic legitimacy. The mainstream Irish nationalist tradition was moderate and realistic, and it was this nation-building tradition that triumphed in 1922. The stability and good order of the Irish state owes much to this victory. In particular, because the democratic impulse in Irish life overcame the cult of the virtuous minority, Ireland did not go the way of so many other newly emerging European states. There were to be no military dictators or fascist interludes; instead, there evolved a stable democracy, which eventually came to include most of those defeated in 1922. 'Tom Garvin ...delivers in full measure those qualities which those who know his earlier work will be looking for: new source material, a nose for the big issue, jugular-graspin Since there are half a dozen of these to every page, even a big sample could hardly do justice to the impact of his writing.' Charles Townshend , "Irish Political Studies". ---------------------------------- The Evolution of Irish Nationalist Politics by Tom Garvin Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 16.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 262 pages This classic work studies the growth of nationalism in Ireland from the middle of the eighteenth century to modern times. It traces the continuity of tradition from earlier organisations, such as the United Irishmen and the agrarian Ribbonmen of the eighteenth century, through the followers of Daniel O'Connell, the Fenians and the Land League in the nineteenth century to the Irish political parties of today. The dual nature of Irish nationalism is shown in sharp focus. Despite the secular and liberal leanings of many Irish leaders and theoreticians, their followers were frequently sectarian and conservative in social outlook. This book demonstrates how this dual legacy has influenced the politics of modern Ireland. --------------------------------------- Nationalist Revolutionaries in Ireland 1858-1928 by Tom Garvin (Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 16.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 200 pages) The present-day Republic of Ireland was created by a revolutionary ‚lite which developed between 1858 and 1914. This book analyses the social origins of the revolutionary politicians who became the rulers of Ireland after 1922 and examines their political preconceptions, ideologies and prejudices. Tom Garvin argues that in many cases they were not only influenced by old agrarian grievances or memories of the Famine, but also, and more immediately, by the contemporary Catholic abhorrence of the Protestant and secular world symbolised by London, England and, to some extent, America. Drawing on the evidence of private letters and diaries as well as the popular nationalist journalism of the period, Nationalist Revolutionaries in Ireland makes a hugely original contribution to Irish historiography. It reconstructs the private thoughts behind the public faces of the emergent leadership of independent Ireland, and also puts that leadership in comparative international perspective. This book, a classic of its type, now appears for the first time in paperback. It demonstrates all of Tom Garvin's intellectual and interpretative daring, his willingness to address major political and historical issues in a wholly original and thought-provoking way and his search for historical trails ignored by others. Highlights from the Previous Issue: ---------- The Castles of County Limerick by Michael J. Carroll Paperback with endflaps; 17.00 Euro / 21.00 USD / 12.00 UK; 240 pages with maps, full colour and black-and-white photographs throughout This book is a companion volume to the author's 'The Castles and Fortified Houses of West Cork' and 'The Castles of the Kingdom of Kerry' (both available to purchase from Read Ireland). Major historical sources have differed as to the number of castles and fortified houses that existed in County Limerick, with figures ranging from 100 to 400 being given at various times. Taking the period of castle building from around 1200 to 1700, this book mentions over 140 castles. Each entry includes a map reference and a brief description of position and remains, and in many cases the history and traditions surrounding the castle are explored in depth. There is also a substantial introduction dealing with the history of County Limerick in the medieval period that provides a context for the discussion of the individual castles. ---------------------------------- Memoir by John McGahern (Hardback; 23.00 Euro / 28.00 USD / 16.00 UK; 280 pages) This is the story of John McGahern's childhood; of his mother's death, his father's anger and bafflement, and his own discovery of literature and his ambition to become a writer. At the heart of the book is an unembarrassed homage by a loving son to a woman who protected him and his sisters from his father's unpredictable moods. His memory of walks with her in the lanes near their rural home, of her naming flowers for him and of his joy in her presence, is recovered with great lyrical tact. The account of her courageous endurance of illness - with almost no support from her policeman husband, who was living in his barracks - is unsentimental and unforgettable. The day their mother died, the children were carted off to the barracks where their father the sergeant ruled over a few guards and a quiet countryside where crime was almost unknown, during the war years when Ireland was cut off from the outside world. McGahern describes an adolescence dancing attendance on a secretive, brutal and mercurial man who had only spasms of affection to give his bereft children. Often he reasoned with them by using his fists. McGahern's description of the fields and quiet roads of Co Leitrim, one of Ireland's least known counties, catches the subtle beauties of an often poor landscape of hill and bog. The memoir is also a great portrait of Ireland in the 1940s and 50s, a time of frugal comfort but also of low expectation and depression for many people in a country that seemed to have no future. The author barely escaped being removed from school to do menial work through his discovery of books in the library of a friendly, eccentric neighbour. He found his way to the life of the mind, and a dream that he could himself write stories in which language and feeling mattered as much as the form of the tale. This memoir includes McGahern's memories of Dublin in the 1960s, his time as a schoolteacher, and his sacking for writing a banned book (his second novel, "The Dark"). It ends with his return to live in Leitrim with his wife and the death of his father, difficult to the last. --------------------------------------- The Politics of the Irish Civil War by Bill Kissane (Hardback; 60.00 Euro / 75.00 USD / 40.00 UK; ) Based on extensive archival research this book situates the Irish civil war in the general process of decolonization in the twentieth century, and explains why divisions over the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 proved so formative in the development of the Irish state. Each chapter is devoted to a particular aspect of the war and many new areas are explored. These include the role the doctrine of self- determination played in the Sinn Fein movement, the fate of numerous peace initiatives, the power struggle between de Valera and Liam Lynch within the IRA, and the impact of the civil war on the wider civil society. The last three chapters explore how the conflict has been interpreted by the actors themselves, as well as by historians. Combining perspectives drawn from history and politics, this book will interest not only students of Irish history, but also those interested in the comparative study of civil wars. ------------------------------------- Irish Book of Death and Flying Ships: From the Chronicles of Ancient Ireland (Paperback; 10.00 Euro / 13.00 USD / 7.00 UK; 160 pages, with illustrations throughout) Extracted from a table of cosmical phenomena, epizootics, famines and pestilences in Ireland (included in The Census of Ireland for the Year 1851), the monastic and other annals quoted here cover the earliest time to which tradition refers (as transmitted by the bards) and up to the end of the 11th century AD. The history of the early plagues shows that people tried to account for sudden outbursts of disease, either by the direct and miraculous interposition of Providence, or by some peculiar atmospheric condition. Published to accompany the Irish Census of 1851, this specially photo-illustrated edition provides a beautiful history of Celtic Ireland. ------------------------------------- Illustrated History of Ireland: From 400 A.D. to 1800 A.D. by C.F. Cusack (Hardback; 13.00 Euro / 16.50 USD / 10.00 UK; 670 pages) With evocative black and white drawings, this is a thorough yet accessible history of Ireland, written in 1868 and featuring the famous and infamous inhabitants and events of Ireland. ----------------------------------- Siege at Jadotville: The Irish Army's Forgotten Battle by Declan Power (Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 9.00 UK; 300 pages) During the course of operations, a company of Irish troops was deployed to protect the inhabitants of the village of Jadotville. Not long after deployment, the troops found themselves heavily out-numbered and engaged in a pitched battle with native Congolese soldiers led by white mercenary officers. In addition to the overwhelming odds, the Irish also had to contend with being strafed by a jet and had no airpower or anti-aircraft defences to defend themselves. Appeals for re-supply from UN forces were to no avail. There were a number of attempts by Irish troops in the vicinity to mount a relief operation for their surrounded comrades. However, a mixture of superior fire, physical obstacles and political machinations within the UN led to abject failure. But after numerous rescue attempts failed and the Irish had fought to their last rounds of ammunition and were already using bayonets in hand-to-hand-fighting, Comdt Quinlan decided against the needless bloodshed of his men and surrendered. --------------------------------- Kitty O'Shea: An Irish Affair by Jane Jordan (Hardback; 25.00 Euro / 30.00 USD / 20.00 UK; 277 pages) Kitty O'Shea (1846-1921) was at the centre of one of the most notorious scandals of the late Victorian Age - a scandal which brought the downfall of Charles Stewart Parnell, the leader of the movement for Home Rule for Ireland and crippling damage to the movement itself. In 1889, Parnell was named co-respondent in a divorce suit brought by one of his own MPs, Captain Willie O'Shea. Alleged to have conducted an ten-year affair with Mrs Katherine O'Shea, Parnell was also revealed to be the father of the three youngest O'Shea children. The divorce and the details it exposed was a great public scandal in Victorian England and Catholic Ireland. Yet Parnell refused to resign from his leadership of the Home Rule movement, which resulted in the split of his party. In this compelling new biography, Jane Jordan explores the central, still unanswered questions:Why did Parnell risk the political future of Ireland (and his own) in conducting an affair with a married woman? And was O'Shea a duped husband, as he maintained, or did he connive with his wife's adultery in order to further his own political career? --------------------------------------- Till Death Do Us Part by Siobhan Gaffney (Paperback; 11.00 Euro / 14.00 USD / 8.00 UK; 200 pages) Colin Whelan and Mary Gough appeared to be like any young, married couple. They had been sweethearts and Colin won Mary's heart a few years before their wedding. The couple had been married just six months when Whelan called an ambulance saying his wife was badly injured as a result of falling down the stairs in the family home in Balbriggan, in north Co. Dublin. A post-mortem, however, established that she had been strangled. Whelan was charged with his wife's murder in April 2001 but he disappeared while on bail in March 2003 before the trial began. He was thought to have taken his own life after his Peugeot 206 and a number of personal possessions were found near the sea at Howth's Head in Co Dublin. A major sea, land and air search was carried out but his body was never found. About 15 months later an Irish holidaymaker in Majorca recognised Whelan working in a bar and alerted the authorities. This is the true story of what happened. Court reporter, Siobhan Gaffney, explores the homicidal tendencies of Colin Whelan, which emerged before he even wed his young wife. ------------------------------------ Ventry Calling by Bearnard O Lobhaing (Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 17.50 USD / 10.00 UK; 128 pages) Ventry Calling is a translation of Bearnard O Lubhaing's Ceann Tra hAon - a memoir originally published in 1998 by Coisceim and now translated by Gabriel Fitzmaurice. Ventry was a parish of two religions, Catholic and Protestant, which learned to live together. O Lubhaing's account of the religious and educational implications of this co-existence is carefully recalled. The rich archaeological heritage of the area, the feast days of the year, life in West Kerry during the Second World War, encounters with the Blasket Island heritage, are all lovingly related in this authoritative account by a Ventry native who went on to become a national school teacher, a member of An Taisce and a committed Gaelgeoir. --------------------------------------- Childhood Interrupted: Growing Up Under the Cruel Regime of the Sisters of Mercy by Kathleen O'Malley (Large Format Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 17.50 USD / 10.00 UK; 244 pages) In 1950, Kathleen O'Malley and her two sisters were legally abducted from their mother and placed in an industrial school ran by the Sisters of Mercy order of nuns, who also ran the notorious Magdalene Homes. The rape of eight-year- old Kathleen by a neighbour had triggered their removal - the Irish authorities ruling that her mother must have been negligent. They were only allowed a strictly supervised visit once a year, until they were permitted to leave the harsh and cruel regime of the institution at the age of sixteen. But Kate survived her traumatic childhood and escaped her past by leaving for England and then Australia when the British government offered a scheme to encourage settlement there. Fleeing her past again, Kate worked as a governess in Paris and then returned to England where she trained as a beautician at Elizabeth Arden. She married and had a son. A turning point in Kate's life came when she applied to become a magistrate and realised that she had to confront her hidden personal history and make it public. This is her inspiring story. ---------------------------- Collected Poems of Patrick Kavanagh (Paperback; 14.00 Euro / 19.00 USD / 11.00 UK; 300 pages) The centenary of Patrick Kavanagh's birth in 2004 provides the ideal opportunity to reappraise one of modern Ireland's greatest poets. From a harsh, humble background that he himself described so brilliantly, Kavanagh burst through immense constraints to redefine Irish poetry - a poetry appropriate for a fully independent country, both politically and culturally. Moving beyond Irish verse's preoccupation with history, national politics and identity, he turned to the land and scenery of his native Inniskeen, portraying the closely-observed minutiae of everyday rural and urban life in an uninhibited, groundbreaking style. Lucid, various, direct and engaging, Kavanagh's poems have a unique place in the canon and a unique accessibility. This major new edition is the culmination of many years of work by Antoinette Quinn in creating authoritative texts for Kavanagh's poetry - from his early works such as Inniskeen Road: July Evening' to his masterpiece, the epic The Great Hunger', allowing us to see the development of Kavanagh's genius as never before. ---------------------------------------- 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 full mailing address and credit card details including expiration date. You might like to split this information into 2 or 3 emails for security. 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 (last updated this morning - 22 October). Checking this page on the Read Ireland website is an ideal 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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