The Irish Assassins: Conspiracy, Revenge and the Phoenix Park Murders that Stunned Victorian England

Julie Kavanagh. Atlantic Monthly, $28 (496p) ISBN 978-0-8021-4936-7
Journalist Kavanagh (Nureyev: The Life) delivers a page-turning history of the murders of the chief secretary and the undersecretary for Ireland in May 1882. Examining the events that led up to the assassination, Kavanagh details the destitution of Ireland’s tenant farmers, who had few rights of tenure or rent security against their Anglo-Irish landlords, and the rise of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, which aimed to overthrow British rule by armed insurrection. She vividly describes how the murders were plotted and carried out by the Invincibles, an extremist group within the Brotherhood, with funding from American supporters of Irish independence, and shows how the resulting backlash delayed home rule for Ireland by more than 30 years. The large cast includes Queen Victoria; prime minister William Gladstone; revolutionary Catholic priest James MacFadden, who sided with the tenant farmers, instructing them not to pay rent until landlords had given back “confiscated” acres; police superintendent John Mallon, “the Irish Sherlock Holmes,” who caught the culprits; James Carey, a leader of the Invincibles turned informer; and Irish emigrant Patrick O’Donnell, who killed Carey for his betrayal. This entertaining and richly detailed chronicle offers fresh insights into a conflict whose repercussions are still felt today. Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/04/2021
Release date: 05/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-0-8021-4938-1
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