Today with Sean O'Rourke

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    The Weekend Chef

    Well, the weekend is coming up and whether you have lined up dinner with friends, want to cook something for the watching the match or maybe just want to do yourself a curry, my next guest has just the thing for you.

    Catherine Fulvio returns with her new book, The Weekend Chef and she came into us this morning.


    Gypsy Empire: Uncovering the Hidden World of Irish Travellers

    By Eamon Dillon (Transworld Ireland)

    More and more the media through TV and Radio programmes such as My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and youtube slagging matches are giving us more and more insight into the lives of the Travelling Community both here and in Britain.

    Eamon Dillon is a journalist who has looked into the lives or Irish Travellers in three particular areas, feud violence, bare-knuckle boxing and Traveller Traders, the secret millionaires of Travellers.

    We also got the response of Martin Collins of Pavee Point.


    The Man Booker Prize

    On the Today programme, last August, we looked at three novels on what was then the Man Booker Longlist. By happy chance, or sheer co-incidence, or inspired guesswork those three novels, Colm Toibin’s The Testament of Mary, Jim Crace’s Harvest and Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland made it on to this year’s shortlist announced on 15 September.

    Today we’re taking at a look at the other three titles contending for one of the world’s most important literary prizes. They are: NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names; A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki and The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. The winner will be announced next week in London and, to bring you a flavour of all three, Sean was joined in studio by actors Cathy Belton and Barry Barnes who’ll read extracts from these three novels and by Niall MacMonagle.


    Hitler’s Furies

    History has it that the role of women in Nazi Germany was to be the perfect Hausfrau, produce the next Aryan generation and be a loyal cheerleader for the Fuhrer. Then they became the ‘Rubble Women’, as they cleared and tidied their ruined country to get it back on its feet. They were Germany’s heroines. The few women tried and convicted after the war were simply the evil aberrations that proved this rule. However, the true extent of the role of women in the Nazi killing fields has been hidden for seventy years. In her new book, Hitler’s

    Furies, Wendy Lower reveals an altogether different story, which shows that genocide is women’s business as well as men’s and that, in ignoring women’s culpability, we have ignored the reality of the Holocaust.

    Hitler's Furies German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields By Wendy Lower (Published by Chatto and Windus for approx. €27 in hardback).


    Great Britain’s Great War

    One hundred and one years ago began the Great War… leaving behind over thirty seven million casualties in one of the most deadly conflicts in the history of the planet.

    Life in the trenches was horrific… the death toll unimaginable and the suffering on the battle field and back home was ongoing.

    So why did the British fight it so willingly and how did the country endure it for so long? Using a wealth of first-hand source material, Jeremy Paxman brings to life the day-to-day experience over the course of the war in his new book, Great Britain’s Great War.

    It reveals that life and identity in Britain were often different from here in Ireland and show how both countries were utterly transformed by the enormous upheaval of the war.And Sean spoke to Jeremy Paxman.

    Great Britain’s Great War By Jeremy Paxman (Published by Viking for €21.50 in paperback).


    The Republic: The Fight for Irish Independence

    By Charles Townsend (Published by Allen Lane)
    The protracted, terrible fight for Irish independence pitted the Irish against the British and the Irish against other Irish. It was both a physical battle of shocking violence against a regime increasingly seen as alien and unacceptable and an intellectual battle for a new sort of country. The damage done, the betrayals and grim compromises put the new nation into a state of trauma for at least a generation, but at a nearly unacceptable cost the struggle ended: a new republic was born. In his new book, The Republic, Charles Townsend deals with the most critical years in Ireland's history. There has been a great temptation to view these years through the prisms of martyrology and good-and-evil. The picture painted by Townshend, however, is far more nuanced and sceptical.



    Angela Merkel – The Chancellor and her World

    by Stefan Kornelius and translated by Anthea Bell and Christopher Moncrieff (Alma Books)

    Germans take to the polls this weekend to determine whether Angela Merkel will be re-elected for her third consecutive term. Currently in the eighth year of her chancellorship, she has been at the head of the most powerful economy in Europe for two parliamentary terms and while she has achieved much throughout her career, the defining theme of her chancellorship is Europe’s crisis.

    Resented and respected in equal measure across Europe, little is known of Merkel beyond her political policies and ideologies. Who was this woman who for so long had kept quiet and who in only a few years had taken control of Germany’s conservative party? Who was this politician who rose almost unnoticed to lead the leaders of Europe? An official biography has been released this year which has been translated from German and chronicles the early life of Angela Kasner growing up in East Berlin, her late interest in politics, Polish roots, affinity to Israel and her swift rise to power titled Angela Merkel – The Chancellor and her World.

    Author Stefan Kornelius spoke to Sean this morning.


    My Outdoor Life

    by Ray Mears (Hodder & Stoughton)

    Ray Mearshas been described as a naturalist, broadcaster, outdoorsman and survival expert. Through his TV programmes he has taught audiences a multitude of what he terms ‘bushcraft tips’ over the years from how to make fire without matches, track a man or wolf, make a shelter of snow to which plants are edible and which are not.

    Today he joins me in studio to discuss where the drive to be outside came from, what first sparked his interest in nature and why he took the route he did in his latest book and autobiography – My Outdoor Life.


    The Price of Power – Inside Ireland’s Crisis Coalition

    by Pat Leahy (Penguin Ireland)

    It was a Government that hit the ground running, literally with the new Taoiseach bounding into work walking. But what he and his coalition partners found in the State’s coffers made grim accounting....they had inherited a country poised on the cliff edge of ruin.

    So with no other options available the new government was forced to follow the economic blueprint left by their predecessors and answer to their new economic masters the TROIKA.

    Now that the first half of the Government’s term has come to an end deputy and political editor of The Sunday Business Post, Pat Leahy has set out to tell the story as seen from the inside in his latest book The Price of Power – Inside Ireland’s Crisis Coalition.


    Pope Francis: Untying the Knots

    By Paul Vallely (Bloomsbury)

    When Jorge Mario Borgoglio took to the Vatican Balcony as Pope Francis, he had already become a Pope of firsts. He not only became the first Pope to have a living predecessor and the first Pope to come from outside Europe, but he was also to be the first Jesuit Pope. Since then the Pope’s modesty and approachability have become a trademark. However, according to my next guest, Borgoglio was once a very divisive figure, an authoritarian who underwent a remarkable transformation – a transformation which harked back to the Argentinian Dirty War of the 1970s.

    Author of Pope Francis: Untying the Knots, Paul Vallely spoke to Sean this morning.

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