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For the Cause of Liberty: A Thousand Years of Ireland's Heroes (2000)
by Terry Golway
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684855569, Hardcover)For more than 800 years, Ireland has had to define itself politically in relation to its next-door neighbor and sometime occupier, England. That fact has fueled generations of Irish revolutionary activity--and given rise to countless heroes, ordinary men and women who suffered and died in the cause of freedom.
One person's hero is, of course, another's criminal, and Irish American journalist Terry Golway takes pains not to paint too saintly a portrait of men such as Daniel O'Connell, a Catholic emancipator who loathed rebellion but loathed oppression even more; Michael Collins, the soldier and politician who helped bring about the modern Irish state; Gusty Spence, the Ulster Protestant militant who, while in prison, became a convert to the cause of nonsectarian peacebuilding; and Gerry Adams, who helped bring militant Catholics into negotiations with their Protestant counterparts and the English government. While striving for balance, For the Cause of Liberty takes an overwhelmingly pro-Irish stand vis-à-vis England, which may not please some readers, as he charts the lives and accomplishments of dozens of historical figures major and minor. Those heroes of old may soon belong to a fading past; as Golway notes, approvingly, Northern Ireland seems well along on its path to peace, while the Republic is rapidly becoming "post-nationalist," with one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe, "outpacing Britain and even Germany." His vivid history reminds readers well, however, of the cost of that newfound wealth and harmony. --Gregory McNamee
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:51 -0400)
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