Tuesday 6 December 2016

John Drennan: Tales of political intrigue to rival Archer

There is a bouquet of Christmas books this year to attract the political anorak, writes John Drennan

Published 19/12/2011 | 06:00

One of the eternal Christmas dilemmas is what literary present to buy for those strange souls who are interested in politics. This problem is accentuated by the fact that, with exceptions such as Stephen Collins and Pat Leahy, the history of Irish political books in Ireland has been relatively inglorious. As with the celebrity autobiography, most have consisted of wearisome cut-and-paste jobs or 50 funniest anecdotes-style texts, whose most natural location should be the ante room of a mercy-killing clinic.

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Happily, for the political anorak at least, one of the consequences of the recession has been a marked improvement in the quality of political books. This year has brought us a bouquet of political texts dealing with The Fall of the House of Usher-style destruction of Bertie, Fianna Fail and the grand issue of how on earth we ended up in the land of we are where we are.

First in this list is The End of the Party: How Fianna Fail Finally Lost its Grip on Power (Gill & Macmillan). Written by Bruce Arnold and Jason O'Toole this reads like a fast-paced thriller crossed with scenes of farce that would be more appropriate to Halls Pictorial Weekly.

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