Many writers attribute Ireland's problems to colonialism. Most, however, make only limited reference to literature on colonialism elsewhere, and debate is hampered by the intimacy of the Irish academic and intellectual scene, which means criticism is muffled by tact or excessively personalised.
It is a pleasure to welcome back into print Toby Barnard's detailed study of what the back-cover blurb refers to as 'the constructive side of English policy in Ireland during a formative period'. First published in 1975 and widely praised at the time, it had long been out of print.
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.
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.
This is a monumental book, covering 91 noble families and 311 individual noblemen in 17 chapters of 482 pages of text and 89 pages of endnotes. The supporting material includes 19 plates, ten maps, 31 tables, ten figures and six appendices.
G. J. Bryant, The Emergence of British Power in India, 1600–1784: a Grand Strategic Interpretation (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2013). ISBN 978-1-84383-854-8