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Old February 22nd, 2010, 08:59 PM   #1

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Irish War of Independence - book recommendations


Hello.
Looking for a good book on the Irish War of Independence. My first foray into the subject so something general will do. Have found the below in searches. Any recommendations? Thank you. (I am new to Historum.com, so please gently let me know if this post if better suited for the European History forum or another forum.)

- The War for Ireland: 1913 - 1923 by Peter Cottrell;
-The Irish War of Independence by Michael Hopkinson
- Turning Points of the Irish Revolution : The British Government, Intelligence, and the Cost of Indifference, 1912-1921 by Benjamin Grob-Fitzgibbon
- Anglo-Irish War, 1916-1921 by William H. Kautt
- The Easter Rising: Revolution and Irish Nationalism by Alan J. Ward
- 1916 - The Long Revolution by Gabriel Doherty
- Irish War of Independence by Frederic P. Miller, Agnes F. Vandome, John McBrewste (Published January 2010)
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 03:41 AM   #2
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Re: Irish War of Independence - book recommendations


All those books (With possible exception to Hopkinson) aren't great. A proper history of 1913-1924 hasn't really being written, but a lot of great monographs have. Here is a bibliography from the top of my head:

General surveys:

Michael Hopkinson, 'The Irish War of Independence', 'Green against Green' (Book on the Civil War)
Lord Longford, 'Peace by ordeal' (Anglo Irish Treaty)
Tom Garvin, '1922, the birth of Irish democracy' (thought provoking study on the nature of the republican/free state split) and also 'Evolution of Irish Nationalist politics'
Michael Laffan, 'Resurrection of Ireland'

Biographies:

Tim Pat Coogan, 'Michael Collins' (Authoritative but a bit pop. history)
Peter Hart, 'Mick, the Real Michael Collins' (V. critical)
David Fitzpatrick, 'Harry Bolands Irish Revolution'
Meda Ryan, 'Tom Barry: IRA freedom fighter' (Hagiography, but interesting. ESPECIALLY historiographical debate with Hart above)
Diarmit Ferriter, 'Judging Dev' (Good bio on Eamon de Valera)
M. Valiulis, 'Portrait of a revolutionary' (Richard Mulcahy)

Local studies (More important than they sound)

Peter Hart, 'The IRA and its enemies' (Co. Cork)
David Fitzpatrick, 'Politics and Society, Provincial experience of war and revolution' (Co. Clare)

Memoirs

Tom Barry, 'Guerrila Days in Ireland' (Most famous of them all)
Dan Breen, 'My Fight for Irish freedom'
Michael Brennan, 'The war in Clare, 1911-1921'
Ernie O'Malley, 'On another man's wound' and 'The Singing flame' (Best written autobiographies of them all, the first deals with the war of independence, the second with the Civil war. He really was the IRA's intellectual. On that note see book by his biographer, Richard English, 'Ernie O'Malley, IRA intellectual')

Hope that helps!

MISC

John Bowman, 'De Valera and the Ulster Question, 1917-73' (Brilliant review of the republican understanding of northern problems, see especially the first few chapters)
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 03:46 AM   #3
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Re: Irish War of Independence - book recommendations


On second glance that list is probably a bit intimidating. If I were to narrow it down to 3 books, I'd read the following (In order of importance)

1. Tim Pat Coogan, Michael Collins (Not only a good biography but also a study of the war in Dublin and surrounding area)
2. Peter Hart, IRA and its enemies (Controversial study of the most active area in the war of independence - Cork)
3. Michael Hopkinson, Green against Green (Authoritative book on the Civil War - you cannot read about the war of independence and ignore the civil war)
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 10:17 AM   #4

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Re: Irish War of Independence - book recommendations


This is great Parnell. Thank you very much for your time and effort! I've saved this off and will be consulting it for some time to come.

Based on your good advice I'll start with either 'Michael Collins' by Tim Pat Coogan or Hopkinson's 'The War of Irish Independence'. (And right, makes sense that a read on the Civil War is indicated if I'm on the subject of the fight for independence.)

Thanks again!
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Old March 25th, 2011, 03:12 AM   #5
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I confirm i'm read -My fight for irish freedom and it's a regard interesting about this war.

But the book in french i have read Mon combat pour l'irlande, it's the same book Arty? and there is other book translate in French or breton language?
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Old March 25th, 2011, 06:02 AM   #6

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Peter Hart used to be a professor at my university. Unfortunately I think he died. I would have liked to take an Irish history course with him.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 07:03 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Pancho35 View Post
Peter Hart used to be a professor at my university. Unfortunately I think he died. I would have liked to take an Irish history course with him.
He was guilty of some degree of plagiarism in 'The IRA and its enemies'; which irreperably ruined his reputation. Nonetheless he made some great arguments during his short career, stirred the pot magnificently.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 07:41 AM   #8

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Yeh I don't know him, but all the profs in the university seem to talk about him like he is a god.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 08:54 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Pancho35 View Post
Yeh I don't know him, but all the profs in the university seem to talk about him like he is a god.
He was the prodigy of my old prof. (David Fitzpatrick in TCD) who supervised his PHD. He had him on all the reading lists and spoke very highly about him.

For all the people who admire and like him, a far greater number despise him, mainly reactionaries and nationalists who seem to associate any deviation from violent Republicanism as blasphemy.
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Old March 25th, 2011, 10:06 AM   #10

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I would discard Peter Hart's works as utter rot. Really, for a first foray into the subject that kind of cynical revisionism is not suitable. Certainly, after reading a proper history of the conflict, if you then wish to try Peter Hart's stuff by all means do, but know that some of his sources are forgeries. With this I particularly refer to the piece of evidence he uses to accuse Tom Barry of War crimes.

I suggest "Michael Collins" by Tim Pat Coogan
"Brother against Brother" by Liam Deasy (for the civil war)
"1916 Easter Rising" by Tim Pat Coogan

And too, "My Fight for Irish Freedom" by Dan Breen, but be aware he was a famous IRA commander and therefore quite biased.

If you want a look at Irish Nationalism in detail from 1798 on, Robert Kee's "The Green Flag" is one of the bes I have read.
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