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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Read Ireland

Special Offer: 5 Free Readers' Copies Two Weeks In June by Martin McSweeney (Paperback; 9.99 Euro ; 288 pages) In June 1963, President John F. Kennedy left America on a tour of Europe. One leg of his journey brought him to the shores of Ireland, and the city of Cork. That's the backdrop for a new novel just published by Cork-born author Martin McSweeney. The novel, Two Weeks In June, is a fascinating mix of local history, romance, and solid Cork humour all interwoven in thriller form with an underlying plot in which certain elements aim to bring down the most powerful man on the planet. Each chapter details the events of one day of the two weeks preceding JFK's visit to Cork on 28th June 1963. Romance comes with the character of Mary Horgan, a young 19 year old from the north side of Cork, who works in the old Cudmore's Sweet shop in Patrick Street. Mary encounters Dean Reynolds, an American visiting the city, and is instantly swept off her feet. But all is not plain sailing as events surrounding the couple start to spiral out of control; events that will threaten to tear Mary's close family apart. A jealous ex-boyfriend, and two brothers who become enamoured with the I.R.A., add to Mary's problems as the story progresses. As you read this book, you will feel like you are there, back on the streets of Cork in the sixties. The novel captures events surrounding the visit of JFK to Cork, five months before he was slain in Dallas, Texas. It's an intriguing read that will leave you with a strange sense of foreboding of the events that followed. To qualify for a copy please email me your name and FULL MAILING ADDRESS. Winners will be selected at random and notified by email. Offer ends 6 November. ------------------------------------------ Read Ireland Book News – Issue 325 ---------------------------------- Beautiful Day: Forty Years of Irish Rock Music by Sean Campbell and Gerry Smyth (Large format paperback with endflaps; 25.00 Euro / 35.00 USD / 19.00 UK; 200 pages, with photos throughout) Music has played an important role throughout the island of Ireland since ancient times, and it continues to represent one of the principal cultural avenues for the expression and exploration of contemporary Irish identities. Beautiful Day: Forty Years of Irish Rock tells the story of modern Ireland from the perspective of the music produced across the island during a period of rapid, decisive change. The volume is made up of an introductory essay (4,000 words) followed by short essays (ca. 1,200 words) on forty-one songs (one from each year between 1964 and 2004) interspersed with photographic images relating to individual performers, songs and / or cultural context. This book will place representative material by a variety of artists - including U2, Enya, The Corrs, Thin Lizzy, Van Morrison, and Sinéad O'Connor - in their musical, cultural and historical contexts, while also introducing a range of less well known, but no less interesting, Irish popular musicians from the 1960s down to the present. Although the style is accessible, the research is thorough, and is intended to challenge many received ideas relating to the development of Ireland during this key stage of its political and cultural history. The overall intention is to combine written text with photographs to produce an attractive book that is evocative, informative, and controversial, and that has widespread, cross-demographic appeal. Beautiful Day introduces representative songs from 1964 to the present by a range of Irish popular musicians. The book combines written text with photographs to produce an attractive volume that is evocative, informative, and controversial, and that has widespread, cross-demographic appeal. Music has played an important role throughout the island of Ireland since ancient times, and it continues to represent one of the principal cultural avenues for the expression and exploration of contemporary Irish identities. Beautiful Day: Forty Years of Irish Rock tells the story of modern Ireland from the perspective of the music produced across the island during a period of rapid, decisive change. The volume is made up of an introductory essay (4,000 words) followed by short essays (ca. 1,200 words) on forty-one songs (one from each year between 1964 and 2004) interspersed with photographic images relating to individual performers, songs and / or cultural context. ------------------------------------- Green Suede Shoes: An Irish Odyssey by Larry Kirwan (Trade Paperback; 15.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 11.00 UK; 370 pages) This memoir by Black 47 front man Larry Kirwan begins in Wexford and traces the impact on a young Kirwan of his Irish Republican grandfather, his mysterious and often absent deep-sea sailing father and his first bandleader Elvis Murphy. These influences propelled him to the Dublin of the early 70s and later Kirwan emigrated to New York, where he eventually formed the political rock band Black 47. He gives a dry-eyed and unsparing account of the tumultuous trajectory of Black 47 and of the band's ongoing political commitment and opposition to the war in Iraq. -------------------------------------- Moments That Changed Us by Colum Kenny (Paperback with endflaps; 17.00 Euro / 21.00 USD / 11.00 UK; 320 pages) Ireland has changed enormously since the 1960s. The old country is barely recognisable today. Crucial moments in that process of transformation are the subject of Colum Kenny's new book. He recalls a series of linked events which, taken together, fired the engines of social, economic and cultural change in modern Ireland. He gathers his material by themes: Mother and Child (including education, school beatings, working mums); Violence (including the vanished, random attacks and atrocities); and Rituals (including drugs, sport, religion). The other themes are Sexual Relations, Scandals, Politics, Society, Lifestyle and Culture. This fascinating necklace of moments and events gives a unique insight into the evolution of contemporary Ireland. Colum Kenny's cool, analytical intelligence interprets Ireland to the Irish for the twenty-first century. -------------------------------------- The Fighting Irish: Inside the Ring with Boxing's Celtic Warriors by Roger Anderson (Paperback; 12.00 Euro / 15.00 USD / 8.00 UK; 336 pages) The Fighting Irish tells the remarkable story of how the Irish and their descendants took the boxing world by storm. Irishmen have enjoyed a unique place in the sport, punching way above their weight and exerting a truly global influence. From the brutal bare-knuckle era to the present day, they've also played their part in many of the most famous - and infamous - moments in ring history. The French have their flamboyance, the Germans efficiency, but no one likes a scrap quite like the Irish. It's hardly surprising, then, that the boxer should become a source of national pride, not least for those people forced through famine to seek a new life in the new world. John Morrissey, Yankee Sullivan, John C. Heenan and Paddy Ryan paved the way for the sport's first superstar, John L. Sullivan. His boast that he could 'lick any son-of-a-bitch in the house' tapped into the mood of a people fighting for their place in America's melting pot of immigrants. From the brazen Boston Strong Boy to Gentleman Jim Corbett, legend of the 'Roaring '20s' Jack Dempsey through to James J. Braddock, who fought his way from the welfare queue to the heavyweight championship of the world, satisfaction was guaranteed. The Fighting Irish also looks at that glorious era of ethnic match-ups when Irishman and Jew traded blows; at racism and the search for the Great White Hope; fighters who united the most divided of communities; and the ultimate price paid by some in the pursuit of ring glory. It's a roller- coaster ride of pride and passion, raw courage and sublime skill. McLarnin, McGuigan, McAuliffe, McCullough, Corbett, Cooney, Conn, Monaghan and Micky Ward - each distinctive, yet linked by the Celtic warrior culture. The Fighting Irish is the ultimate tale of trial and tribulation, tragedy and triumph. -------------------------------------- Old Bones and Shallow Graves: The Untold Story of the Irish-American Gangster by T.J. English (Trade Paperback; 16.00 Euro / 19.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 465 pages, with an eight-page black-and-white photo insert) Here is the shocking, true saga of the Irish-American mob, from the mid-nineteenth century all the way to the present day. History shows that the heritage of the Irish-American gangster was established in America long before that of the more widely portrayed Italian American Mafioso and has held strong through the modern age. In fact, the highest-ranking organised crime figure on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List - alongside Osama bin Laden - is an old-style Irish-American mob boss from South Boston. In Paddy Whacked, bestselling author and organised crime expert T.J. English brings to life nearly two centuries of Irish-American gangsterism, which spawned such unforgettable characters as Mike 'King Mike' McDonald, Chicago's subterranean godfather; Big Bill Dwyer, New York's most notorious rumrunner during Prohibition; Mickey Featherstone, troubled Vietnam vet turned Westies gang leader from Hell's Kitchen; and James 'Whitey' Bulger, the ruthless and untouchable Southie legend. This is an epic story of corrupt politics, wanton murders, gambling empires, notorious brothels, tough women and hard-drinking pugilists from the underbelly of America's most dangerous cities. Combining storytelling verve with thorough research and a slew of never-before- published material, English presents a riveting, seamless cultural history of the Irish-American underworld. He offers a brilliant portrait of a people who fought tooth and nail for a better life from the moment they arrived in America, whether it meant taking charge within the realms of law enforcement and politics or capitalising on what opportunities they could in the darker world beyond the law. Paddy Whacked is an irresistible tour of the undercarriage of American history - a ride that stretches from the earliest New York and New Orleans street wars through decades of bootlegging scams, union strikes, gang wars and FBI investigations... and along the way deepens our understanding of the American experience. ---------------------------------------- Contacted: Testimonies of People Who Say the Dead Are Alive by Audrey Healy and Don Mullan (Paperback; 13.00 Euro / 16.50 USD / 10.00 UK; 190 pages) Contacted! is a compilation of stories of people who have been contacted by the dead. Healy and Mullan's approach is similar to that of the authors of the highly successful Chicken Soup for the Soul in that people are allowed to tell their own stories without editorial filtering. Such first-hand accounts are both compelling to those who already believe and challenging to those who are sceptics. As with Chicken Soup for the Soul, Healy and Mullan's book presents each story on its own, without commentary, thus allowing readers to make up their own minds. Such an approach gives breathing space to the reader who might wish to sit and ponder or reflect on a particular story. ---------------------------------------- The Hollow Heart: The True Story of One Woman's Desire to Give Life and How It Almost Destroyed Her Own by Martina Devlin (Paperback; 14.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 10.00 UK) In three attempts at in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) Martin Devlin lost nine embryos. But she also lost her marriage and her dreams of becoming a mother. The Hollow Heart describes Devlin's bewilderment at being diagnosed as infertile, the physical and emotional demands of going through IVF and the shattering fall-out when it failed. She also describes how her despair eventually faded, and how she learned to take pleasure in her extended family of nieces and nephews and, as her mother always advised, to count her blessings. "And in enumerating them I am struck by this. Their quantity." --------------- Available Again: --------------- Moleskin Joe by Patrick MacGill (Paperback; 11.00 Euro / 13.50 USD / 8.50 UK; 190 pages) Moleskin Joe is one of the most memorable characters to appear in Patrick MacGill's first two books, Children of the Dead End and The Rat Pit (both also available in paperback at the same price). This sequel, first published in 1923, recalls the tramps and navvies MacGill encountered during his time on the road in Scotland and north of England in the early years of the twentieth century. Centred around the adventures of Moleskin Joe, with his philosophy of 'there's a good time comin', although we may never live to see it', this intriguing book sees Joe fall in love with a young Irish woman he meets on his travels. Filled with superb characterisation, humour, poignancy and eloquence, Moleskin Joe is a vivid portrayal of the hardships of the immigrant experience, which MacGill not only experienced himself, but also successfully exposed to a huge audience through his writing. --------------------------------------- Folkmusic and Dances of Ireland by Breandan Breathnach (Paperback; 11.00 Euro / 13.50 USD / 9.00 UK; 150 pages) Breandan Breathnach's classic study of the history and development of Irish traditional music, song and dance. The techniques and styles of traditional playing are fully and expertly treated with special reference to the fiddle, the Irish Uilleann pipes and the whistle. The late Breandan Breathnach was acknowledged as one of the foremost authorities on traditional music of Ireland and as such contributed the main article on Irish folkmusic to Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians. An expert piper himself, he was chairman of the Association of Uilleann Pipers. He was editor and publisher of Ceol, a highly regarded magazine of Irish traditional music. ----------------------------------- Highlights from the Previous Issue: ----------------------------------- 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. --------------------------- 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. --------------------------- 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 élite 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. --------------------------------------- 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 - 25 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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