Today With Sean O Rourke Friday 27 September 2013
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.