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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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... which nowadays tends to go unnoticed: he looked the part. A bulbous, bald dome, along with some receding black hair and dark moustache, produced a quirky resemblance to Lenin. Although his biographer JohnBew 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 ...

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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... south. Needless to say, the London media tend to focus on the outlandish elements in the loyalist worldview. Few books have done as much to reveal the latent liberalism of the Unionist tradition as JohnBew’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 ...

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 ...

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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... as a separate political unit. Yet the nationalists never modified their vision to incorporate 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 ...

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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... Irish Labour Party, Eamon Gilmore (pictured in The Lost Revolution at a youth conference in Havana); 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 ...

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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... wider questions gradually stand revealed. Davitt himself was singular amongst Fenians in that his ideas 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 ...

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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... majority Protestant part of it, presented another major problem with which Connolly never came to terms. 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 ...

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