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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Read Ireland

Read Ireland Book News - Books of the Month - Spring 2006 --------------------------------------------------------- Non-Fiction – March 2006 ------------------------ Chaos at the Crossroads by Frank McDonald and James Nix (Large Paperback with Endflaps; 25.00 Euro / 33.00 USD / 19.00 UK; 410 pages) This book is a catalogue of the sloppy thinking, political chicanery, bureaucratic incompetence and pandering to vested interests that characterise so much of what is happening in Ireland today! It charts how the country is being wrecked by half-baked policies that fail, and are known to fail. Whether it’s the urban-generated housing in rural areas, the relentless sprawl of our cities, the madness of the motorway programme, the scatter-gun approach to decentralisation, the contempt for our heritage, or the failure to observe our international obligations to combat climate change, the Government has made a mess of it. Evidence that would underpin sensible decisions is either blithely ignored or never gathered in the first place. There is an alternative, but the lack of political leadership has thwarted its adoption to date. It’s the idea of closely knit cities, with Galway, Limerick, Cork and Waterford working together to counterbalance Dublin. This book also puts forward proposals on how to make urban life work better, how to get around cities and travel between them. It gives a warning of what is likely to happen if the current blasé to-hell-with-the-next-generation approach is allowed to prevail: chaos! (Also available in Hardback price at 40 Euro) ------------------------------- Fiction – March 2006 -------------------- An Irish History of Civilization volume Two by Don Akenson (Hardback; 40.00 Euro / 50.00 USD / 30.00 UK; 696 pages) 'Some of these stories are accurate; all of them are true...' In his "An Irish History of Civilization", Don Akenson, the world's leading scholar of the Irish Dispora, fuses history and fiction into a remarkable narrative of the people and their influence around the globe. "An Irish History of Civilization" is about the Irish at home and abroad, the great and the small, the noble and the depraved, the saints and he sinners, adventures and idealists. As Akenson follows his chosen people on their odyssey around the globe, the lines between history and fiction become irretrievably, beguilingly lost in the mists of time. Volume Two begins with the Great Famine and goes on to show the Irish adapting, improvising and innovating in Ireland and overseas - in North America, Australia, New Zealand, Polynesia and South Africa. The book ends by demonstrating the centrality of both Catholic and Protestant Irish culture to the United States. --------------------------------------- Non-Fiction – February 2006 -------------------------- A Social History of Women in Ireland 1870-1970 by Rosemary Cullen Owens (Hardback; 30.0 Euro / 36.00 USD / 24.00 UK; 400 pages, with two 8-page black-and-white photo inserts) Rosemary Cullen Owens stresses at all times the importance of class and land ownership as key determinants for women's lives. A decrease in home industries allied to increasing mechanisation on the farm, resulted in a contraction of labour opportunities for rural women. With the establishment of an independent farming class, the distinguishing criteria for status in rural Ireland became ownership of land, in which single-minded patriarchal figures dominated. In this context, the position of women declined, and a society evolved with a high pattern of late-age marriages, large numbers of unwed sons and daughters, and an accepted pattern of emigration. In the cities and towns, the condition of lower-working-class women was particularly distressing for most of the period, with particular problems regarding housing, health and sanitation. Through the working of campaigning activists, equal educational and political rights were eventually attained. From the early 1900s there was some expansion in female employment in shops, offices and industry, but domestic service remained a high source of employment. For middle-class women, employment opportunities were limited and usually disappeared on marriage. The civil service, a major employer in an economy that was generally un-dynamic and stagnant, operated a bar on married women for much of the period. Rosemary Cullen Owens not merely traces these injustices but also the campaigns fought to right them. She locates these struggles in the wider social context in which they took place. This important and overdue book provides an important missing piece in the jigsaw of modern Irish history. -------------------------------------- Fiction – February 2006 ----------------------- The Rebels of Ireland (Ireland Awakening) by Edward Rutherford (Large Paperback; 18.00 Euro / 24.00 USD / 13.00 UK; 868 pages) The Princes of Ireland, the first volume of Edward Rutherfurd’s magisterial epic of Irish history, ended with the disastrous Irish revolt of 1534 and the disappearance of the sacred Staff of Saint Patrick. The Rebels of Ireland opens with an Ireland transformed; plantation, the final step in the centuries-long English conquest of Ireland, is the order of the day, and the subjugation of the native Irish Catholic population has begun in earnest. Edward Rutherfurd brings history to life through the tales of families whose fates rise and fall in each generation: Brothers who must choose between fidelity to their ancient faith or the security of their families; a wife whose passion for a charismatic Irish chieftain threatens her comfortable marriage to a prosperous merchant; a young scholar whose secret rebel sympathies are put to the test; men who risk their lives and their children’s fortunes in the tragic pursuit of freedom, and those determined to root them out forever. Rutherfurd spins the saga of Ireland’s 400-year path to independence in all its drama, tragedy, and glory through the stories of people from all strata of society--Protestant and Catholic, rich and poor, conniving and heroic. His richly detailed narrative brings to life watershed moments and events, from the time of plantation settlements to the "Flight of the Earls," when the native aristocracy fled the island, to Cromwell’s suppression of the population and the imposition of the harsh anti-Catholic penal laws. He describes the hardships of ordinary people and the romantic, doomed attempt to overthrow the Protestant oppressors, which ended in defeat at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, and the departure of the "Wild Geese." In vivid tones Rutherfurd re-creates Grattan’s Parliament, Wolfe Tone's attempted French invasion of 1798, the tragic rising of Robert Emmet, the Catholic campaign of Daniel O’Connell, the catastrophic famine, the mass migration to America, and the glorious Irish Renaissance of Yeats and Joyce. And through the eyes of his characters, he captures the rise of Charles Stewart Parnell and the great Irish nationalists and the birth of an Ireland free of all ties to England. A tale of fierce battles, hot-blooded romances, and family and political intrigues, The Rebels of Ireland brings the story begun in The Princes of Ireland to a stunning conclusion. (Also available in Hardback priced at 30 Euro) --------------------------------------- Non-Fiction – January 2006 -------------------------- Mick: The Real Michael Collins by Peter Hart (Hardback; 30.00 Euro / 36.00 USD / 22.00 UK; 480 pages) Few people have had as profound an impact on their country's history in so short a time as Michael Collins had on twentieth-century Ireland. Dead at thirty-one, assassinated by a compatriot, he had already fought in the Easter Rising, been elected to four different parliaments, organized the IRA and smuggled in its arms, launched its guerrilla war, beat British intelligence at its own game, financed the revolution, negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty, run the first independent government of Ireland, and led the Irish army to victory as its first Commander-in-Chief. Collins gained international fame as the mystery man who could not be caught, the man who won the war and, paradoxically, the man who made peace with the British Empire and made it stick. That he also paid the ultimate price has ensured that he remains a hero and an icon both in his native country and abroad. Peter Hart's compelling and comprehensive biography draws on many hitherto unseen sources to explore the life of Michael Collins and to ask what made him such an extraordinary and complex man. Set to become the definitive work, Hart's is the first book fully to investigate Collins's life before becoming a revolutionary and the first to take a critical look at his rise to power and its consequences. -------------------------------------- Fiction – January 2006 ---------------------- Torn Water by John Lynch (Hardback; 17.00 Euro / 21.00 USD / 13.00 UK; 265 pages) Set in his native Northern Ireland, John Lynch's debut novel is a lyrically told and exquisitely tender story of innocence and loss. 'He remembers when he was very young standing by water! How he had got there or where the pond was he couldn't remember, but he can vaguely recall a larger hand on his and being led through the high rooms of a large building, to a large garden, where bees wove dozy patterns in the air. At the bottom of this garden lay the large pond, and he remembers a face bending to meet his and whispering that he would be back in a little while. So he stood where he had been left, his small feet pointing at the stonework of the pond's rim. He remembers a wind brewing in the tops of the trees and tearing at the water of the pond for a moment, before subsiding, his face blurring into focus like a TV channel being tuned.' When James Lavery's father is blown to bits by a bomb he intended to maim and kill others with, the boy keeps him alive in his imagination as a superhero, escaping the daily grind of school, his mother's drinking and his own acute loneliness by inventing extraordinary adventures for them both. ---------------------------------------------- Highlights from the Previous Issue: ---------------------------------- Read Ireland Book Reviews – Issue 336 ------------------------------------- Star Sullivan by Maeve Binchy (Paperback; 5.00 Euro / 6.50 USD / 4.00 UK; 106 pages) Molly Sullivan said that the new baby was a little star. She was no trouble at all and she was always she became known as Star and no one remembered that her name was Oona. Star Sullivan just wanted everyone to be happy - her father to stop gambling, her mother not to work so hard, her brother to stay out of trouble, her sister to stop worrying about every little thing she ate. Then the Hale family moved in next door, and from the moment Star saw 23-year-old Laddy Hale, everything began to change - until Star was no longer the sweet, thoughtful girl everyone loved and no one worried about... ---------------------------------- Irish Poems chosen by Matthew Sweeney (Paperback; 7.00 Euro / 9.00 USD / 5.00 UK; 220 pages) This is a sparkling collection of the very best Irish poetry. It is a beautiful gift book featuring a sumptuous and uplifting range of Irish poetry. Matthew Sweeney has chosen classics, such as 'Cockles and Mussels'; poems from such celebrated poets as Seamus Heaney and W.B. Yeats; and lesser-known gems that he has discovered on his journey through Ireland's rich poetic heritage. ------------------------------------ Oscar Wilde’s Stories for Children illustrated by P.J. Lynch (Paperback; 7.00 Euro / 9.00 USD / 5.00 UK; 112 pages) Includes Oscar Wilde's tales: "The Happy Prince"; "The Selfish Giant"; and more. This title contains illustrations by an award-winning illustrator P J Lynch. ----------------------------------------- Dublin: 1001 Intriguing Facts by Gill Davies (Hardback; 8.00 Euro / 10.00 USD / 6.00 UK; 414 pages) Celebrates Dublin in its antiquity and its diversity. Both visitors to Dublin and Dubliners themselves will find this cocktail of history, geography, myth and legend a useful read. -------------------------------------- Phoenix Park: A History and Guidebook by Brendan Nolan (Large Paperback; 19.00 Euro / 23.00 USD / 14.00 UK; 255 pages, with black and white photos throughout) The Phoenix Park, one of the biggest enclosed parks in the world, provides a breath of fresh air amid the urban sprawl of modern Dublin. Brendan Nolan's comprehensive guide to the Phoenix Park covers its origins and history, buildings and monuments, wildlife, literary associations, local lore, military use, sports, self-guided walks, and its future in an urban environment. The author provides detailed histories and descriptions of all of the landmarks in the Park, including the Zoo, Aras an Uachtarain, Farmleigh, Ashtown Castle, the American Ambassador's Residence, Garda Headquarters, etc. He touches on such historical events as the infamous murders of 1882, the Eucharistic Congress of 1932, and the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979. This book will be of interest to tourists and visitors, to locals and Dubliners in general, and to anyone interested in this most historic and scenic park. ----------------------------------- North Dublin: City and Environs by Dillon Cosgrave (Large Paperback; 19.00 Euro / 23.00 USD / 14.00 UK; 128 pages) Originally published in 1909, this book explores the Dublin of the early 1900s. The narrative stretches from Church Street out to Howth by way of Clontarf, Fairview, Marino and the Phoenix Park. The author displays an impressive knowledge of the people, places and happenings of the city and its surrounds over the centuries that preceded publication. A comprehensive study of the city and county north of the Liffey this book provides a fascinating view of Dublin from the eyes of an Irishman in the early twentieth century. A re-publication of a classic history text widely quoted and referred to and not reprinted since 1977. The book covers a broad swathe of the city and county north of the Liffey; features interesting local content; and offers a fascinating perspective on the image of Dublin held by our predecessors and ancestors. ---------------------------------------- Dublin 1745-1922: Hospitals, Spectacle & Vice by Gary Boyd (Large Paperback; 20.00 Euro / 25.00 USD / 15.00 UK; 224 pages, with black-and-white photos and illustrations throughout) This innovative book interprets architectural spaces in the light of the underlying tensions between 18th-century Dublin as a fashionable resort and the attempts by the authorities to deal with some of the results of its apparent profligacy. These include the creation of new institutions as well as other measures designed to remove ugly realities from the street and purify urban space. Based mainly on 18th- and 19th-century archival material from the Rotunda Hospital, the Lock (venereal) Hospital and the Hospital for Incurables, this book challenges the vision of 18th-century Dublin as an ideal Protestant city by investigating the hidden world behind its wide streets and magnificent Georgian facades. The decision to establish the British Isles' first maternity hospital on the northern edge of Sackville Street (today's O'Connell Street) was grounded in a series of imperatives where obstetrics and medicine were only part of the overall story. The adjacent Pleasure Gardens, created ostensibly to provide funds for the hospital, introduced new types of social engagement and an increase of commodified forms of entertainment to the city. The Gardens, characterised by acts of spectacle and display, soon acquired an additional reputation as a site of sexual adventure and louche behaviour, one which ultimately would be extended to the city. --------------------------------------- Wexford: A History, A Tour and a Miscellany by Nicky Rossiter (Large Paperback; 18.00 Euro / 22.00 USD / 13.00 UK; 160 pages, with black-and-white photos throughout) This book will give the resident and the visitor a broad as well as an intimate picture of the town or "ancient and historic borough" of Wexford as local politicians delight in calling it. It is filled with interesting, amusing, revealing and educational stories. Featuring three sections, A History, A Miscellany and a Tour, this book offers a sample of the unique flavour of Wexford. This is Menapia, Loch gCarman, Weisfiord, Wexford. Nicholas Rossiter is a financial Advisor based in Wexford Town. The history bug bit in the 1980s when he produced some very popular publications in association with several other local historians. "Wexford: A History, A Tour and A Miscellany", is the product of research, built up knowledge and commitment to local heritage. It features: nearly 200 images of Wexford, its sights and people; engaging tone. The author's excellent local knowledge lends itself well to the narrative. --------------------------------------- A History of Newtownbutler by Barbara Chapman (Trade Paperback; 18.00 Euro / 22.00 USD / 13.00 UK; 100 pages, with black-and-white photos throughout) Newtownbutler is a rural town on the south east of County Fermanagh, steeped in colourful history and tradition. In this publication of the local history of Newtownbutler, Barbara Chapman gives a fascinating account of the history of her town, gathers statistical facts and interviews many of the local characters. The book is nicely illustrated with old and new pictures of the town through her many changing phases. -------------------------------------- Tales from the Banks of the Erne by John Cunningham (Trade Paperback; 18.00 Euro / 22.00 USD / 13.00 UK; 100 pages, with black-and-white photos throughout) A place of great scenic beauty, Loch Erne has long been the inspiration for artists and draws tourists from far and wide. This is a unique collection of tales capturing the experiences and memories of people around the Loch Erne area through the last century, many of which have since passed away. These tales are charming in their humour and simplicity and touching in their honesty. --------------------------------------- A Thousand Years of Church Heritage in East Galway by Peter Harbison (Trade Paperback; 20.00 Euro / 25.00 USD / 15.00 UK; 140 pages, with endflaps, full colour photos throughout) East Galway, between Corrib and Shannon and Clare and Roscommon contain a treasure of major and minor church gems. The area includes earlier and late medieval monuments such as Kilmacduagh with its famous leaning tower and the attractive ruined fairies of Kilconnell and Ross Emily among others. But the major surprises of this book are the rich and largely undiscovered heritage of stained glass which can be explored there. Labane and Loughrea respectively saw the genius and the high point of ‘Celtic Revival’ stained glass in Ireland with some of the most famous products of Sarah Purser’s An Tur Gloine (Tower of Glass) studio. ------------------------------------- Voices of Trim by Tommy Murray (Trade Paperback; 18.00 Euro / 23.00 USD / 13.00 UK; 100 pages, with black-and-white photos throughout) Featuring entries from the culchie of the year, local politicians, ordinary workers and FCA men and characters known throughout the town, Voice of Trim displays the colour and life of Trim at its remarkable best. Featuring images and postcards from the authors own collection and photographs and pictures from other collections, this book will appeal to all those who live in or know Trim. Tommy Murray is a well known author and poet living in Trim. He has produced numerous successful books and publications and has received many prizes and awards for his work and poetry. It features: Local Content; Engaging tone; Excellent collection of postcards and images. -------------------------------- Voices of the Donegal Corridor by Joe O’Loughlin (Trade Paperback; 17.00 Euro / 20.00 USD / 12.00 UK; 90 pages, with black-and-white photos throughout) "The Donegal Corridor", based along Lough Erne in County Fermanagh and up the Donegal coast, was a key contribution to the Allies in World War II. A place where ally soldiers trained for combat, where planes landed and refuelled and where many crashed and lost their lives. This intriguing book brings together a collection of memories, from home and abroad, of the Donegal Corridor. Joe interviews local people, family members and former comrades. The book is beautifully illustrated with pictures of many of these lost heroes, their aircrafts and the memorial sights of those who never made it home. This book will have a local as well as an international appeal. ---------------------------------------- A Class Apart: The Gentry Families of County Kildare by Con Costello (25.00 Euro / 30.00 USD / 20.00 UK; 128 pages, with a 16-page full colour insert) The landed gentry played a significant role in the history of Kildare. The highly impressive houses throughout the county stand as testimony to this. There has always been a deep fascination in 'The Big House' - the families living there, their treatment of the peasants, and their eventual fall. The Gentry of Kildare is a fascinating exploration into the lives of a number of gentry families, their rise and their demise. This study of the landed gentry is a wonderful read from both an historical as well as a local point of view. -------------------------------------- Newgrange: The Mystery of the Chequered Lights by Hugh Kearns (Paperback; 15.00 Euro / 18.00 USD / 10.00 UK; 142 pages, with endflaps) 5,000 YEARS AGO, AN EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE LIVED IN IRELAND. THEY WERE FARMERS, HUNTERS AND BUILDERS. WITHOUT THE BENEFIT OF THE WHEEL, AND WITH TOOLS MADE ONLY OF FLINT, THEY CARVED THEIR CULTURE INTO HISTORY. ALONG THE BANKS OF THE RIVER BOYNE, THEY BUILT IRELAND'S BIGGEST AND BEST-KNOWN NECROPOLIS, REPOSITORIES TO THEIR SPIRITS - MONUMENTS TO IMMORTALITY. At ten minutes to nine on the morning of the shortest day of the year, a pale and weak sun slowly rises above a ridge in the Boyne River valley. As its rays penetrate the dawn mist, a solitary building sits atop the hill waiting - Newgrange, waiting as it has every year for over fifty centuries to shine once again as a beacon to the Spirit of Man. In this dramatic new book, Hugh Kearns postulates that the Neolithic structure at Newgrange is even more sophisticated than the current archaeological establishment is prepared to accept. Everyone knows that the solstice sunrise is captured by the structure to illuminate a corbelled chamber deep in the interior of the huge mound. But what did the Neolithic engineers do with the captured sunbeam? The answer to that intriguing question illuminates some of the darkest passages of Irish history, validating even the most exotic of Irish legends as actual, prehistoric facts. ----------------------------------- Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion by Charles Townshend (Paperback; 12.00 Euro / 15.00 USD / 9.00 UK; 442 pages) Before Easter 1916, Dublin had been a city much like any other British city, comparable to Bristol or Liverpool and part of a complex, deep-rooted British world. Many of Dublin's inhabitants wanted to weaken or terminate London's rule, but there remained a vast and conflicting range of visions of that future: far more immediate was the unfolding disaster of the First World War that had put home rule' issues on ice for the duration. The devastating events of that Easter changed everything. Both the rising itself and - even more significantly - the ferocious British response ended any sense at all that Dublin could be anything other than the capital of an independent country, as an entire nation turned away in revulsion from the British artillery and executions. As we approach the 90th anniversary of the rebellion, it is time for a new account of what really happened over those fateful few days. What did the rebels actually hope to achieve? What did the British think they were doing? And, how were the events really interpreted by ordinary people across Ireland? Vivid, authoritative, and gripping, "Easter 1916" is a major work. ------------------------------------------- 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 LEAVE the books you DO 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 I 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 uperseded at least 3 times per month (last update 23 March). 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 I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you very much for your continued support and custom. Sincerely, Gregory Carr @ Read Ireland
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