The Irish Revolution has long been mythologized in American culture but seldom understood. For too long the story of Irish independence and its aftermath has been told only within an Anglo-Irish context.
Now, in the critically acclaimed Bitter Freedom, journalist Maurice Walsh, with "a novelist's eye for the illuminating detail of everyday lives in extremis" (Prospect), places revolutionary Ireland in the panorama of the global disorder born of the terrible slaughter of World War I and provides a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human face of the conflict.
In this "invigorating account" (Spectator), Walsh demonstrates how this national revolution, which captured worldwide attention from India to Argentina, was itself shaped by international events, political, economic, and cultural. In the era of Russian Bolshevism and American jazz, developments in Europe and America had a profound effect on Ireland.
Bitter Freedom is "the most vivid and dramatic account of this epoch to date" (Literary Review).
©2016 Original Material © 2016 by Maurice Walsh. Recorded by arrangement with W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. (P)2016 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
Like so many younger, third generation Irish-Americans, I've always been fascinated by Ireland. With its 15 millennia of complicated social and political situations, it can seem too foreign to wrap your head around, yet at the same time strangely familiar. The little "Irish stuff" you see is goofy plastic Paddy knick knacks that are sanitized to the tastes of an older generation desperate to assimilate. I would bet that while George Washington is known across Ireland, maybe one in ten Irish Americans could tell you who Collins or De Valera are. Material I've come across on the revolution or civil war or partition have struck me as some combination of sentimentality and propaganda. You certainly don't get a sense that you're part of a global diaspora.
This book, well narrated, really helped me get a sense of what life was like across Ireland just before and at the outset of the modern world. With current affairs in America, one very interesting aspect of the book is as a case study in a police state that sees itself as at war against their fellow citizens.
All in all this felt to me like a pretty straightforward, fascinating survey of the events that shaped Ireland at the time many of our families decided to emigrate.
Report Inappropriate Content