Mike Cronin, Author A HISTORY OF IRELAND Mike Cro $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-333-65432-3

A research fellow in history at De Montfort University Leicester (U.K.), Cronin offers synopsis with little insight in this overview of Irish history. Starting with ancient Gaelic Ireland, he quickly moves on to the introduction of Christianity, the Viking and Norman-Anglo invasions, and the effects on the Protestant Reformation. With Cromwell's invasion in the mid-17th century came the redistribution of land from the Catholics to the Protestants. This is the strong point of the book, as Cronin compacts convoluted Irish history into a comprehensive, readable form. He then briefly covers the 1798 Rebellion, Catholic emancipation under Daniel O'Connell and the great famine of the 1840s, all of which set the stage for the Fenian rebellion of 1867. The Fenians, though unsuccessful, would leave their imprint on Parnell and his Land League. Cronin paints a concise, albeit limited, picture of the events of 1914 through 1923. His portrait of John Redmond, the head of the Irish delegation at Westminster, is telling of the man and his political philosophy. Redmond, who warmly embraced Britain's entrance into WWI, found himself isolated from his own constituents in the aftermath of the 1916 Rebellion. But the author's sketchy and incomplete analysis of post–Civil War Ireland and some of his questionable judgments of important figures will leave some readers baffled. He praises the government of William T. Cosgrave (1922–1932) for his post-revolution adaptation of the in-place British systems—in many respects returning Ireland to the status quo ante. He also praises Eamon DeValera, whose ascension to power is often viewed as hypocritical, because he renounced everything for which he had fought the Civil War. Cronin's assessment of the Good Friday Agreement is inadequate: only once does he mention President Clinton, who played the seminal role in brokering the accord. Unfortunately, Cronin sacrifices depth for the sake of brevity; his superficial rendering would best serve as a primer for those who are new to Irish history. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/19/2001
Release date: 03/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 293 pages - 978-0-333-65433-0
Show other formats
Discover what to read next