cover image The Man Who Made Ireland: The Life and Death of Michael Collins

The Man Who Made Ireland: The Life and Death of Michael Collins

Tim Pat Coogan / Author Roberts Rinehart Publishers $24.95 (0p

A model for other revolutionaries worldwide, Michael Collins (1891-1922) took center stage in Irish history after the Easter Rebellion of 1916. This definitive biography by the former editor of the daily Irish Press traces the political trajectory of the ``Big Fellow,'' as the handsome charismatic Collins was known. As the key figure in the Irish Republican Army's war of independence of 1919-1921, Collins focused on intelligence and counterintelligence activities, using ruthless efficiency to destroy the British secret service network in Dublin. He led the Irish delegation in negotiating the treaty with Great Britain that brought southern Ireland commonwealth recognition. But his failure to wrest full republic status in the negotiations tore the revolutionary movement asunder; angered and disappointed dissidents rallied around Eamon DeValera on a path that led to bitter civil war. While in his native Cork hoping to reconcile with anti-treaty former comrades, Collins was killed by a partisan. Although firmly rooted in facts, Coogan's stirring, frankly biased (i.e., anti-DeValera) study also deals in rumor: Was Collins in New York, disguised as a priest, in 1914? Was Parnell deputy Tim Healy a British mole as early as 1882? Photos. Author tour. (Nov.)