Apart from Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera, Harry Boland was probably the most influential organiser of the Irish Republican movement between 1916 and 1922. Already famous as a hurler before 1916, he was convicted and imprisoned after serving as a volunteer officer in the GPO. His influence later extended to almost every aspect of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and in his work as Irish envoy to America. He was intimately associated with both Collins and de Valera, but broke with Collins over the terms of the Anglo-Irish treaty in December 1921. He was the principal intermediary between the treaty's supporters and opponents, before being fatally shot by national army officers in the second month of the civil war. Boland's mix of animal charm, gregariousness, wit and a dash of ruthlessness made him an influential and formidable character. Though not an intellectual in his manner he was a clear thinker, a forceful orator and a graceful writer. He was also a man about town, equally at home in Dublin, Manchester or New York, a bon vivant of varied tastes and amongst the most attractive yet elusive personalities of the Irish revolution. David Fitzpatrick's biography draws upon thousands of letters to and from Boland as well as diaries, police reports, memoirs and other documents preserved in Irish, British and American archives and in family possession. These mainly unknown documents record in astonishing detail the inner workings of Irish republicanism, including its personal conflicts and alliances, and reveal the critical importance of fraternity in determining the course of Ireland's revolution.
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David Fitzpatrick is Associate Professor of Modern History at Trinity College, Dublin. His books include Oceans of Consolation: Personal Accounts of Migration to Australia and Politics and Irish Life, 1913-1921: Provincial Experience of War and Revolution. He is also the series editor for Irish Narratives, all published by Cork University Press.Review:
"Fitzpatric's excellent book is based on extensive and original research, and Harry Boland emerges roundedly from its pages....Fitzpatrick is shrewdly aware that one needs to stress the honest idealism as well as the ruthless violence of Boland and his associates. Those associates included the front-rank leaders of the Irish republican movement (Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera amond them) , and this very impressive study adds an important layer to our understnanding of how the revolutionaries operated. 'Without Harry Boland,' Professor Fitzpatric suggest, 'the Irish revolution would undoubtedly have been less effective'. Such a judgment seems thoroughly justified by this closely argued study from which Boland emerges as a genuinely important figure. He typified and aggressive and ultimately unsatisfactory style of politics, and it is to Fitzpatrick's credit that he so successfullly re-creates that political world, and that he assesses it with such intelligence and meticulous professionalism. This is not the first biography of Harry Boland; but it is, without question, the best. It reflects Professor Fitzpatrick's remarkable skills as a researcher and as a fine historical writer, and it marks an extremely important additon to the shelves of books dealing with the history of modern Ireland." (English History Review)
"In Neil Jordan's film Michael Collins (1996), which drew enormous Irish audiences, Boland was winsomely played by the Irish American actor Aidan Quinn....Harry Boland died for 'the Republic', but Professor Fitzpatrick, in this superb biography, which now eclipses Tom Maher's useful Harry Boland: A biography (1998), does not see him as a purist ideologue. In fact, he is presented here above all as a 'movement man', determinde to perserve the internal cohesion of Irish republicanism. Fitzpatrick explicityly makes the connection with Gerry Adams or Martin McGuinness in this context. In this account, Boland died not so much for an instransigent ideal, but because he simply miscaculated the conditions under which a face-saving unity of Sinn Fein wcouldbe preserved. Put another way, he underestimated Brish determination and ability to effect a split within the Irish nationalist leadership rather than grant further concessions." (Times Literary Supplement)
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Book Description Cork University Press, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M1859182224