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Dublin Review of Books

Jeff Dudgeon alerts me to the Dublin Review of Books, "a free quarterly online journal whose main object is the publication of clear and thoughtful analysis based on recently published books". Various articles to browse through at my leisure, many from the perspective, more visible in intellectual discourse than in election results, of the Irish Left. I particularly enjoyed two pieces from the current issue:

Tony Brown on Irish Euroscepticism. I know Tony as a very nice guy involved with the Institute of European Affairs in Dublin, where I have spoken a couple of times. Here he lets his passion out, exposing the mendacity of the anti-EU cause in Ireland. I recommend it especially to British friends to see how the issue plays out in the neighbouring jurisdiction. However, it should also be noted that the anti-EU forces have lost every time in Ireland, if sometimes only on the second round. (Also I notice that the article, despite being in the Dublin Review of Books, doesn't actually cite any, er, books. But it's still very much worth reading.)

Brendan O'Leary on Paul Bew's Ireland: The Politics of Enmity 1789-2006. Again, an author I know on a subject I know; I first met Bew at the departmental parties our family would host, long before he got my father's old job in Belfast let alone his recent peerage, and O'Leary has greatly flattered me in print. O'Leary's article here attempts to forensically dissect Bew's new blockbuster on the recent history of Ireland, but ends up making me want to buy and read the book, to see what I think of it myself. O'Leary feels that Bew attaches too much strength to the importance of indigenous factors and not enough to external (ie British) influence on events: I'm not sure all of his points are totally convincing, but he makes them very entertainingly. (A minor irritation is that you have to download O'Leary's footnotes in a standalone Word document; in this day and age, that is simply unprofessional.)

Anyway, a site to keep watching. Lots more that I enjoyed browsing through, but as I said, these were the two articles that particularly grabbed me.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 28th, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC)
There's some really interesting stuff there! I'm not sure that I'll ever find time to read any of it, but I've bookmarked it anyway. Thanks for the tip.
Apr. 30th, 2008 01:06 pm (UTC)
The review of Paul Bew's latest really does veer too deeply into Marxist doctrine from my perspective. Is O'Leary bouncing off references in Bew's book or using his review to publicise his Marxist views?
Apr. 30th, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
I haven't read Bew's book, but I think the context is that Bew himself started out very much as an avowed Marxist - so it is worth analysing his shift to supporting Trimble - and also that the DRB site is clearly itself somewhat lefty in its roots. O'Leary's review should be understood as a continuation of a decades-long dialogue between the two!
May. 1st, 2008 08:32 am (UTC)
Ah, that fact had slipped my memory! Still, that focus turns it into a much more specialist review.

The Marxist focus might explain why the reviewer has problems with 'Colony' and 'colonial' not being in Bew's index. I would have thought that would have been covered by 'Settlement' or 'Plantations', Ireland never having officially been a colony in my recollection.

As for shifts to Trimble, I was downer than a dog when he beat Ken Maginnis to the leadership, but he started to move in the right direction pretty sharply. At the end of the day he sacrificed himself and his party in the cause of peace.
May. 1st, 2008 11:55 am (UTC)
However, it should also be noted that the anti-EU forces have lost every time in Ireland, if sometimes only on the second round.

the second round bit is a bit disingenuous... they only have second rounds when the pro-EU forces lose the first time around.

apart from that, yeah, anti-EU Irish people = mentalists.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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