Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Making of Modern Ireland – An Alternative History

A new book, but not one of mine; this one is written by my friend Geoff Robinson. Writing a book is challenging in all sorts of ways and the amazing thing about Geoff is you're never too old to take that challenge. He has just published The Making of Modern Ireland – An Alternative History and he's 88 years old. Geoff's book is both extremely well researched and written in such a way as to make history engaging and interesting without being in the slightest bit stuffy.

“The Ireland I now inhabit is one that these Irish contemporaries have helped to imagine.” – Seamus Heaney

The history of a nation all too often depends on an admixture of truths, half-truths and mythology; exemplified by the story of Britain and Ireland. Both countries were part of the Angevin Empire that controlled an area from the banks of the Shannon to the Centre of France until after its defeat by the French, in 1399. But Ireland did not experience English rule until her colonisation by Henry VIII in the 16th Century.

Basing their story on past ills which resulted in the 1798 Rising by the United Irishmen and the birth of republicanism, together with carefully selected facts, folklore and historically inaccurate assumptions, the Fenians produced a mythology which was in part responsible for the Rising of 1916. Few are aware that this would not have been possible but for the secret connivance of the enemies of Irish freedom, while Ireland gained her independence not by the Rising but as a result of British over-reaction which produced the War of Independence.

The Making of Modern Ireland looks at the broad sweep of the nation’s history from the 12th Century, when it was part of the Angevin Empire, right up to 2009 and the government of Brian Cowan. Geoff Robinson’s narrative offers an alternative view, stripped of the half-truths and mythology, that has passed for much of the country’s history.

Though born and educated in England, Geoff Robinson is an Irish citizen who has lived in Ireland for over fifty years. An unswerving believer in the rectitude of the Irish cause, he knew many who had been involved in the 1916 Rising and later came to meet others of such divergent political views as the daughter of a Redmondite MP and the editor of the “Bulletin”, a clandestine newssheet published during the War of Independence
Following his marriage in 1966 to Bernadette Tiernan, a national teacher, he developed an interest in Irish politics. His wife’s revelation that no critical examination of the events leading up to the 1916 Rising was contained in the schools curriculum, prompted him to make a re-evaluation of Irish history which has resulted in his book, The Making of Modern Ireland.

Buy it from Amazon UK

Buy it from Amazon US


r morris said...

This looks fascinating.

Richard Evans said...

Richard, are you not interested in a new sunkomutor? Very cheap, apparently.

Elizabeth said...

It's not on Amazon yet

Richard Havers said...

Elizabeth, it's on the Amazon I look at! :)

Anonymous said...

Looks an interesting book Richard. I remember reading that Queen Victoria had actually been quite popular in Ireland and that she visited regularly.

The story goes that during the potato blight she donated £2,000 to help the victims. When she learned that the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire was to send £10,000 however, she persuaded him to donate only £1,000 so as not to outdo her. The story goes that Ottoman ships took aid to Ireland anonymously.

Don't know how true it is tho'