Monday 1 May 2017

Tim Pat Coogan's Michael Collins

Part One of Tim Pat Coogan's acclaimed biography of Michael Collins, the first book in our new Great Biographies series, will be FREE with every copy of the Irish Independent published tomorrow.

Tim Pat's brilliant biography is a rivetting, moving read, which puts a human face on one of the giants of recent Irish history. Collins was a man of extraordinary charisma, a vital, romantic and ultimately tragic figure. Tim Pat Coogan's account is a fascinating history that is as exciting to read as a thriller. The late John McGahern called the book "timely and courageous".

This new edition of Coogan's original book has been divided into two parts to allow for additional pages of photographs. Tim Pat Coogan is Ireland's best known popular historian and this biography, first published on Collins's centenary in 1990, created a remarkable rekindling of interest in the legendary hero. The book spurred a new fascination with Collins, culminating in the film starring Liam Neeson.

After the success of our two previous collections - Great Irish Writers and Great Children's Books - this new biographical series is expected to be hugely popular.

Over the 20 weeks the series will build into an impressive collection in matching hardback editions. The series will include biographies of some of the most important and best loved (or feared) figures from our history over the past century or so.

But this is not merely a historical series. It covers people who were part of our recent history in the widest sense, people who achieved huge popularity or notoriety, or who influenced the kind of country we have become today.

The collection (See panel) covers the most important figures in the emergence of the state, in politics, in the arts, in sport. It includes people inside the country and outside, from over a century ago to the present day. The common factor is that they all were (or still are) key figures in the national consciousness.

The Big Fellow

Michael Collins, the 'Big Fellow' from Clonakilty, Co Cork, was just 30 when, on the morning of October 11, 1921, he sat down in Downing Street to negotiate Irish independence with one of the most formidable political teams that England ever assembled.

Facing him were David Lloyd George, Lord Birkenhead, Austin Chamberlain and Winston Churchill.

When, in December 1921, the negotiations came to an end with the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty from which modern Ireland emerged, Birkenhead remarked to Collins that he might well be signing his own political death warrant.

Collins's prophetic answer was: "I may have signed my actual death warrant."

Before the Truce of July 1921 and that remarkable debut in international diplomacy, forced on him against his will by a Machiavellian Eamon de Valera who refused to join the negotiations, Collins had rightly been celebrated as the brains and driving force behind a daring strategy of guerrilla warfare.

In Volume 1 of Tim Pat Coogan's much-acclaimed biography of Collins, the formative influences which shaped Collins from birth are described.

So, too, are events such as his participation in the 1916 Rising, the emergence of Sinn Fein, and the ferocious Black and Tan interlude known as 'The Year of the Terror'.

The 20 titles in our collection

1 Michael Collins (part 1) by Tim Pat Coogan

2 Michael Collins (part 2) by Tim Pat Coogan

3 Bono by Mick Wall

4 Mary Robinson by John Horgan

5 John F. Kennedy by Robin Cross

6 James Joyce by Edna O'Brien

7 Charlie Haughey by Bruce Arnold

8 Mary McAleese by Justine McCarthy

9 Patrick Pearse by Ruth Dudley Edwards

10 Gay Byrne with Deirdre Purcell

11 Pope John Paul II by Garry O'Connor?

12 Jack Charlton with Peter Byrne

13 Grace Kelly by James Spada

14 Eamon de Valera by T Ryle Dwyer

15 Oscar Wilde by Jonathan Fryer

16 Roy Keane by Eamon Dunphy

17 John Charles McQuaid by John Cooney

18 WB Yeats by Augustine Martin

19 Christy Ring by Val Dorgan

20 Bertie Ahern by John Downing

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