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This is a splendid book, weighty, richly documented and densely argued. The title might suggest a book of focused, perhaps rather limited scope.
Many scholars have thought to write a full presentation of the relations between the Catholic West and the Mongol Empire during the Middle Ages. It is a demanding task. The author should be specialised in many areas, know many languages, and he or she has to fit his or her presentation into a world historical context.
It is disturbing for an Australian to discover that debates about genocide often do not move very far beyond the classic area of study – Europe under the Nazis – before someone mentions the antipodes. Genocide is a crime, in other words, for which Australia is listed among the usual suspects.
The standard of pastoral care provided by the 18th-century Church of England received a notoriously bad press both from its contemporary Evangelical critics and from its Victorian successor.
In a strange coincidence, two books have been published on 'Charlie', the 7th Marquess of Londonderry, in the last two years: Ian Kershaw's Making Friends with Hitler: Lord Londonderry and Britain's Road to War (2004) and Neil Fleming's, the subject of this review.
This Fintan Lane and Donal Ó Drisceoil edited work is a welcome addition to the existing historiography. It concerns the Irish working class and politics over the course of a century. As the introduction points out, the attention of historians has not been directed towards Irish labour to the extent seen in other western European countries.
Sir Henry Docwra, first baron Docwra of Culmore (in the Irish peerage), personified those who rose thanks to the opportunities offered by Ireland in the later sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Docwra shows how minor gentlemen of obscure but solid backgrounds prospered thanks particularly to soldiering.
Aidan Clarke is a formidable and influential scholar of early modern Ireland. His scholarship has always set a high standard: firmly grounded empirically, challenging of received 'truths' and, in its faithfulness to chronology, sensitive to how contemporaries may have perceived events.
This is an ambitious and original book that brings to light a good deal of new material on nationalist politics in the Irish midlands between 1910 and 1916.
If you are shallow enough to buy this book because of its cover you will be heartily disappointed. The image of Arthur Griffith brandishing a Union Jack, with destruction in his wake and the bodies of women and children trampled under his feet, is possibly the most inappropriate that the author or his publisher could have chosen.