Badly needed corrective to vilification of Long Fellow
Last Wednesday, I went to London to launch Paul Bew's latest book, Ireland -- The Politics of Enmity 1789-2006, in the Oxford History of Modern Europe series, which I believe will soon become a classic of modern Irish history.
If so, it will take its place on a thinly populated pantheon which includes Conor Cruise O'Brien's States of Ireland, Peter Hart's The IRA and its Enemies, Tom Dunne's Rebellions, and Henry Patterson's The Persistence of Conflict.
These classics have traits in common -- lightly worn scholarship, an original approach to an old problem, the passionate clarity that comes from having a point of view, and prose styles that are simple in form but complex in content. Bew's book also adds an elegiac note of noble regret for what might have been, but it never commits the crime most detested by the Fenian, John O'Leary -- crying for Ireland on a public platform.