Monday 24 October 2016

Extracts to tell dramatic stories from Easter 1916

Published 04/10/2015 | 02:30

AFTERMATH: Tim Pat Coogan
AFTERMATH: Tim Pat Coogan
BIOGRAPHY: Ronan Fanning
TRUE TALE: Gene Kerrigan

The Sunday Independent will from next weekend, and over three weeks, publish extracts from three seminal new books on the Easter Rising 1916 by renowned historians, authors and journalists, Ronan Fanning, Tim Pat Coogan and Gene Kerrigan.

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Kerrigan's book, The Scrap (Random House), is a dramatic narrative of the Rising reconstructed from the personal testimonies of some of those who were there on the ground, under the artillery barrage and machinegun fire, during those fateful few days.

The Scrap follows them through the week of the Easter Rising - from their 'F' Company base in Fairview, where they fought one of the first skirmishes with the British, and into the centre of Dublin, where they were involved in increasingly bloody fighting.

Using highly personal documents from the Bureau of Military History, the story is one of gripping detail, as we follow 'F' Company into the GPO and see icons of Irish history as the rank and file Volunteers saw them.

From there to the panic and pain of Moore Street, where the leaders began to consider surrender, and some of the members of 'F' Company faced the ultimate test.

Observing the rank and file Volunteers as they faced a turning point in history, The Scrap is full of the dramatic, funny and contradictory detail of ordinary men and women dealing with extraordinary events.

Eamon de Valera: A Will to Power (Faber), by Professor Ronan Fanning, one of Ireland's most eminent historians, is a major biography of the independence leader who bestrode Irish politics like a colossus for more than 50 years following his emergence in the aftermath of the rebellion.

This biography reconciles an acknowledgement of de Valera's "catastrophic failure" in 1921-22, when his "petulant rejection" of the Anglo-Irish Treaty shaped the dimensions of a bloody civil war, with an appreciation of his subsequent greatness as the statesman who single-handedly severed the ties with Britain and defined nationalist Ireland's sense of itself.

1916: The Mornings After (Head Of Zeus), by historian and journalist Tim Pat Coogan, is the story of the traumatic aftermath of the Rising, and of the emergence of two Irish states - one green, one orange - from the embers of bloody conflict.

Coogan offers a strongly personal perspective on the Irish century that followed the Rising - charting a flawed history that is marked as much by complacency, corruption and institutional and clerical abuse, as it is by the sacrifices and nation-building achievements of the Republic's founding fathers.

Sunday Independent

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