Path to Freedom: Articles and Speeches by Michael Collins

Michael Collins, Author Roberts Rinehart Publishers $10.95 (140p) ISBN 978-1-57098-064-0
Collins (1890-1922) is generally recognized as the architect of the Irish Republic. Between 1920 and 1922 he would wipe out the entire British Secret Service in Ireland (while having a 10,000 bounty on his head), finance the new Irish state, negotiate the treaty leading to the eventual establishment of the Republic, and finally be assassinated himself during the Irish Civil War. The inventor of modern guerrilla warfare, his methods have been studied by leaders such as Mao Tse-Tung and former Israeli prime minister Yitzakh Shamir. In this collection of notes Collins is straightforward in his assessments: he chides Eamon de Valera for abandoning the new Irish Free State and justifies his severe actions in putting down resistance at the Four Courts in the beginning of the Civil War. His terrorism notwithstanding, Collins comes across as a true democrat, a man who believes in law and the Celtic tradition. He states bluntly that he ""did not sign the Treaty [with Britain] under duress"" and in a spirited defense of the Treaty makes the point that the Irish Free State enjoyed the same dominion status as Canada, which was also an independent nation. His comments on North Ireland are blunt: ""union is certain. The only question for North-East Ulster is-How soon?"" There are also some interesting deflating comments about Lloyd George and Woodrow Wilson. Coogan, Collins's biographer, has written a focused introduction. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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