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It was worse in 1931

Colin Kidd: Clement Attlee, 17 November 2016

Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee 
by John Bew.
Riverrun, 668 pp., £30, September 2016, 978 1 78087 989 5
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... black hair and dark moustache, produced a quirky resemblance to Lenin. Although his biographer John Bew finds the likeness ‘somewhat forced’, he notes that contemporary observers as different in their politics as George Orwell and the Daily Mail made sport with the superficial similarity. The British Lenin might all too easily have become the ...

I met murder on the way

Colin Kidd: Castlereagh, 24 May 2012

Castlereagh: Enlightenment, War and Tyranny 
by John Bew.
Quercus, 722 pp., £25, September 2011, 978 0 85738 186 6
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... Few books have done as much to reveal the latent liberalism of the Unionist tradition as John Bew’s The Glory of Being Britons: Civic Unionism in 19th-Century Belfast (2009). Bew challenged the prevalent notion that Unionism was at best a reflex response to Irish nationalism and at worst mere anti-Catholic ...

Partnership of Loss

Roy Foster: Ireland since 1789, 13 December 2007

Ireland: The Politics of Enmity 1789-2006 
by Paul Bew.
Oxford, 613 pp., £35, August 2007, 978 0 19 820555 5
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... Nothing Dr Bew writes is without interest.’ The wearily Olympian judgment was delivered by a distinctly peeved F.S.L. Lyons, doyen of historians of modern Ireland, when faced 27 years ago with a short life of Charles Stewart Parnell which took implicit but cheeky issue with his own magnum opus on the Chief ...

Visions

Charles Townshend, 19 April 1984

Theobald Wolfe Tone: Colonial Outsider 
by Tom Dunne.
Tower Books, 77 pp., $1.90, December 1982, 0 902568 07 8
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Partners in Revolution: The United Irishmen and France 
by Marianne Elliott.
Yale, 411 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 03 000270 2
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De Valera and the Ulster Question 1917-1973 
by John Bowman.
Oxford, 369 pp., £17.50, November 1982, 0 19 822681 0
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Sean Lemass and the Making of Modern Ireland 
by Paul Bew and Henry Patterson.
Gill, 224 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 7171 1260 8
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... this ugly reality. Their incomplete mental adjustment to the fact of partition is the subject of John Bowman’s remarkable study. His revisionist stance may seem unnecessarily aggressive – it is after all no secret that in the private session of Dail Eireann on 22 December 1921 de Valera endorsed the so-called ‘county option’ – but he points out ...

Ahead of the Game

Daniel Finn: The Official IRA, 7 October 2010

The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers’ Party 
by Brian Hanley and Scott Millar.
Penguin, 658 pp., £9.99, April 2010, 978 0 14 102845 3
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... his predecessor, Pat Rabbitte; several prominent trade unionists; the historian Paul (now Lord) Bew; and many writers and journalists, including Ronan Bennett and sometime Ireland correspondents of the Guardian and the Sunday Times. It would be hard to spend even a day in Ireland reading the papers, listening to the radio and watching television without ...

Davitt’s Part

Charles Townshend, 3 June 1982

Davitt and Irish Revolution 1846-1882 
by T.W. Moody.
Oxford, 674 pp., £22.50, April 1982, 9780198223825
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... developed, to the bafflement or anger of hard-line physical-force men like O’Donovan Rossa or John O’Leary. W.B. Yeats consigned Romantic Ireland to the grave with O’Leary: Davitt discovered its terminal weakness much earlier. He outgrew the Fenian romanticism of his youth – in Moody’s words, ‘the practical revolutionist in Davitt was disgusted ...

Gaelic Communist

Graham Walker, 12 October 1989

James Connolly: A Political Biography 
by Austen Morgan.
Manchester, 244 pp., £9.95, October 1989, 0 7190 2958 9
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James Connolly: Selected Writings 
edited by P. Beresford Ellis.
Pluto, 256 pp., £8.95, April 1988, 9780745302676
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... Here, Morgan reinforces the critical revisionist work of other Marxist scholars such as Paul Bew and Henry Patterson, particularly the latter’s Class Conflict and Sectarianism (1980). The basic defect in Connolly’s approach was, as David Howell, too, has argued, that it assumed that the idea of an Irish national identity was unproblematic. Connolly ...

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