Read This! Reviews

Bitter Freedom: Ireland in a Revolutionary World Book Cover Bitter Freedom: Ireland in a Revolutionary World
Maurice Walsh
Non-Fiction
2016
544

"Beginning with the Easter Rising of 1916, Bitter Freedom follows through from the War of Independence to the end of the post-partition civil war in 1924. Walsh renders a history of insurrection, treaty, partition, and civil war in a way that is both compelling and original. Breaking out this history from reductionist, uplifting narratives shrouded in misguided sentiment and romantic falsification, the author provides a gritty, blow-by-blow account of the conflict, from ambushes of soldiers and the swaggering brutality of the Black and Tan militias to city streets raked by sniper fire, police assassinations, and their terrible reprisals; Bitter Freedom provides a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human face of the conflict. Walsh also weaves surprising threads into the story of Irish independence such as jazz, American movies, and psychoanalysis, examining the broader cultural environment of emerging modernity in the early twentieth century, and he shows how Irish nationalism was shaped by a world brimming with revolutionary potential defined by the twin poles of Woodrow Wilson in America and Vladimir Lenin in Russia."

From Jim's post: Most books on this period focus on the history that led to those events. Protestant vs Catholic, Irish nationalism vs British Empire, Irish nationalist moderates vs Irish nationalist radicals, just to name a few examples. What Walsh does, though, is look at this period as a world wide event that Ireland was part of.

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