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4 August 1983
British Intelligence and Covert Action: Africa, the Middle East and Europe since 1945 
by Jonathan Bloch, Patrick Fitzgerald and Philip Agee.
Junction, 284 pp., £5.95, May 1983, 0 86245 113 2
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Through the Looking-Glass: British Foreign Policy in an Age of Illusions 
by Anthony Verrier.
Cape, 400 pp., £12.50, February 1983, 0 224 01979 1
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... which is Britain’s richer, bigger, crasser partner in the Secret Service business. Bloch and Fitzgerald’s book is the logical culmination of the process that began then, and indeed it has a polemical preface by the renegade CIA agent, Philip Agee, who started the thing off, to be followed by other renegades like John Stockwell. Memoirs and exposures by ...
27 February 1992
All in a Life 
by Garret FitzGerald.
Macmillan, 674 pp., £25, October 1991, 0 333 47034 6
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... the Irish tragedy can be ended only by political means. In this political autobiography, Dr Garret FitzGerald gives a fascinating account of his own attempts to contribute to this end. It was a role for which he seemed better-equipped than any other party leader in the Republic. His political lineage as a nationalist was impeccable: both his parents had been ...

Downland Maniacs

Michael Mason

5 October 1995
The Village that Died for England 
by Patrick Wright.
Cape, 420 pp., £17.99, March 1995, 0 224 03886 9
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... and now we are blessedly enlightened, like South Sea cannibal islanders converted to Christianity. Patrick Wright’s new book is all about not being triumphalist, or taking any simple view on the history of attitudes to human use of the natural world. This sounds like an implausibly large endeavour for a book whose subject is just one bit of England ...

Let’s Do the Time Warp

Clair Wills: Modern Irish History

3 July 2008
Luck and the Irish: A Brief History of Change c.1970-2000 
by R.F. Foster.
Penguin, 228 pp., £8.99, July 2008, 978 0 14 101765 5
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... the North and the grown-ups. The opposition is clearest in the contrast between Haughey and Garret FitzGerald. FitzGerald (‘Gladstone to Haughey’s Disraeli’) is in many ways the hero of this book. He is presented as the true heir of the pragmatic, far-sighted policies of Seán Lemass and Jack Lynch (hinting ...
9 January 1992
Through a Glass Darkly: The life of Patrick Hamilton 
by Nigel Jones.
Scribner, 408 pp., £18.95, December 1991, 0 356 19701 8
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... Towards the end of his life (he died aged 58) Patrick Hamilton was taking the cure in some Metroland establishment while Malcolm Lowry was being dried out in another not far off. That was around l960, and the two writers never met; but both had become something of a cult. Hamilton died two years later in more than averagely gloomy circumstances, back on the bottle again; and most of his reputation went with him; but there were always the faithful who remembered and read him, and a few years ago his young man’s trilogy from the early Thirties, Twenty Thousand Streets under the Sky, was republished ...
30 November 1995
... two to three people spoke like that and they were solicitors and high up in Fine Gael – Garret FitzGerald’s party, John Bruton’s party. (My family was in Fianna Fáil.) It was easy to see why they admired O’Connell and Parnell, and were happier reading Hansard than the list of names on coffin ships. A whole generation, who had benefited from free ...

So much for shame

Colm Tóibín

10 June 1993
Haughey: His Life and Unlucky Deeds 
by Bruce Arnold.
HarperCollins, 299 pp., £17.50, May 1993, 0 00 255212 4
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... Independence and the Civil War. Their agenda was nationalist rather than social or economic. On St Patrick’s Day 1943 de Valera broadcast a version of his dream for Ireland: ‘a land whose countryside would be bright with cosy homesteads, whose fields and villages would be joyous with the sounds of industry, with the romping of sturdy children, the contests ...
5 April 1990
Ulster Politics: The Formative Years, 1868-86 
by B.M. Walker.
Ulster Historical Foundation/Institute of Irish Studies, 327 pp., £15, February 1990, 0 901905 40 2
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Ireland 1912-1985: Politics and Society 
by J.J. Lee.
Cambridge, 754 pp., £55, January 1990, 0 521 26648 3
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... the Anglo-Irish Agreement, signed on 15 November 1985 by Mrs Thatcher and the Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald, is unconstitutional; that is, in breach of the 1937 Constitution. Thatcher and Fitzgerald solemnly agreed that no change could occur in the constitutional status of Northern Ireland without the consent of a majority ...

No Crying in This House

Jackson Lears: The Kennedy Myth

7 November 2013
The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy 
by David Nasaw.
Allen Lane, 896 pp., £12.35, September 2013, 978 0 14 312407 8
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Rose Kennedy: The Life and Times of a Political Matriarch 
by Barbara Perry.
Norton, 404 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 0 393 06895 5
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... self-made father with connections in Hollywood, Wall Street, Washington and London, and by Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, a devout but fashionable Catholic mum, as at home on the golf links or the ski slopes as in Windsor Castle. After making millions in banking, real estate and film distribution, the father wants to devote his life to public service, and to ...

Passing-Out Time

Christopher Tayler: Patrick Hamilton’s drinking

29 January 2009
The Slaves of Solitude 
by Patrick Hamilton.
Constable, 327 pp., £7.99, September 2008, 978 1 84529 415 1
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The Gorse Trilogy 
by Patrick Hamilton.
Black Spring, 603 pp., £9.95, June 2007, 978 0 948238 34 5
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... was sometimes said, was always in the pub but never really of it. Much the same could be said of Patrick Hamilton, who was best known in his lifetime for his stage chillers Rope (1929) and Gaslight (1938), but is mostly remembered for the expert depictions of joyless interwar boozing in Hangover Square (1941) and the trilogy Twenty Thousand Streets under the ...

Astride a White Horse

Declan Kiberd: Bridget Clearly

6 January 2000
The Burning of Bridget Cleary: A True Story 
by Angela Bourke.
Pimlico, 240 pp., £10, August 1999, 0 7126 6590 0
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... to have been built on a fairy-mound. Undaunted, they moved in, along with Bridget’s father, Patrick Boland, a landless labourer who must have taken pride in the improvement to his family’s fortunes. All that was lacking was a child to bless the happy union. The weather in March was bitter and Bridget fell ill. She had been on a visit to her father’s ...

Diary

John Horgan: The Current Mood in Dublin

19 December 1985
...  ...

Dropping Their Eggs

Patrick Wright: The history of bombing

23 August 2001
A History of Bombing 
by Sven Lindqvist, translated by Linda Haverty Rugg.
Granta, 233 pp., £14.99, May 2001, 1 86207 415 1
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The Bomber War: Arthur Harris and the Allied Bomber Offensive 1939-45 
by Robin Niellands.
Murray, 448 pp., £25, February 2001, 0 7195 5637 6
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Way Out There in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars and the End of the Cold War 
by Frances FitzGerald.
Touchstone, 592 pp., $17, March 2001, 0 7432 0023 3
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... modern warfare, Lindqvist’s book belongs on the same shelf as Way Out There in the Blue, Frances FitzGerald’s brilliant study of Star Wars and the ‘high narrative gloss’ that continues to attend its development. When the Strategic Defence Initiative was launched by Reagan in March 1983, it was a technologically impossible idea: ‘a science-fiction ...

When Ireland Became Divided

Garret FitzGerald: The Free State’s Fight for Recognition

21 January 1999
Documents on Irish Foreign Policy. Vol. I: 1919-22 
edited by Ronan Fanning.
Royal Irish Academy and Department of Foreign Affairs, 548 pp., £30, October 1998, 1 874045 63 1
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... including my parents, held in the archives of University College Dublin. My father, Desmond FitzGerald, was Director, later Minister for Publicity, for most of the period and during the last few months of 1922 was minister in charge of the combined Foreign Affairs and Publicity Departments, under the new description ‘External Affairs’. The Irish ...

Sexist

John Bayley

10 December 1987
John Keats 
by John Barnard.
Cambridge, 172 pp., £22.50, March 1987, 0 521 26691 2
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Keats as a Reader of Shakespeare 
by R.S. White.
Athlone, 250 pp., £25, March 1987, 0 485 11298 1
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... Cambridge introductions to ‘British and Irish Authors’, a high-quality series which includes Patrick Parrinder on James Joyce and John Batchelor on H.G. Wells. Barnard gets a great deal into his short book, presenting a rather different Keats from that of the many other Keats scholars and biographers. Keats’s vividness has been present to his admirers ...

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