Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

Irish book list

In honour of the national festival, I've produced this list of books about Ireland which I have reviewed on-line. This is not a reading list for Irish studies - I ran through most of that when working on my PhD. But I hope some of you will find some points of interest here.

Non-fiction

Medieval history
**** A History of the Black Death in Ireland, by Maria Kelly
***½ Malachy, by Brian Scott - biography of the 12th-century saint

Sixteenth century
****½ Tudor Ireland: Crown, Community and the Conflict of Cultures, 1470-1603 by Steven G. Ellis - best of three on the period
**** Contested Island: Ireland 1460-1630, by S.J. Connolly
***½ Sixteenth Century Ireland, by Colm Lennon

Seventeenth century (and on)
**** The Stolen Village: Baltimore and the Barbary Pirates, by Des Ekin - how the population of a Cork village were sold to Algiers in 1631
**** Battle of the Boyne 1690, by Padraig Lenihan
**** Science, Culture and Modern State Formation, by Patrick Carroll - science and the state in the 17th and 18th centuries
****½ Belfast, c. 1600 to c. 1900: The Making of the Modern City, by Raymond Gillespie and Stephen A. Royle - found this fascinating

Nineteenth century (and on)
***½ Scholars and Rebels, by Terry Eagleton - intellectual life in nineteenth century Ireland
***** Home Rule: An Irish History 1800-2000, by Alvin Jackson - draws some interesting parallels
**** The Independent Irish Party, 1850-9 by John H Whyte - my father's first book
**½-**** Four biographies of Arthur McMurrough Kavanagh
**** Parnell - The Uncrowned King of Ireland: His Love Story and Political Life, by Katherine O'Shea - biography of leading Irish political figure by the woman who loved him
**** A Bachelor's London: Memories of the Day before Yesterday, 1889-1914, by Frederic Whyte - autobiography of a distant cousin of mine; some Irish content
***** Lost Railways of Co. Down and Co. Armagh, by Stephen Johnson - does what it says on the tin

1916
****½ Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion, by Charles Townshend - comprehensive account
**** Dublin Castle and the 1916 Rising: The Story of Sir Matthew Nathan, by Leon Ó Broin - looks at one senior official's experience
**** Slide Rule: An Autobiography, by Neville Shute - the novelist's father was in charge of the GPO
**½ From Behind a Closed Door: Secret Court Martial Records of the Easter Rising, by Brian Barton - relies too heavily on its source material

The Troubles
***** Lost Lives: The stories of the men, women and children who died as a result of the Northern Ireland troubles, by David McKittrick, Seamus Kelters, Brian Feeney, Chris Thornton and David McVea - heart-rending and complete
***** Making Sense of the Troubles, by David McKittrick and David McVea - excellent overview of What It All Meant
***** The Elusive Quest: Reconciliation in Northern Ireland, by Norman Porter - on the importance of reconciliation, and how to get there
****½ Troubled Images: Posters and Images of the Northern Ireland Conflict from the Linen Hall Library, Belfast, ed. Yvonne Murphy, Allan Leonard, Gordon Gillespie and Kris Brown - fascinating collection of visual images
***½ Endgame in Ireland, by David McKittrick and Eamonn Mallie - chronology from 1984 to 2001.
*** Northern Ireland: A Political Directory, 1968-1999 by Sydney Elliott and W.D. Flackes with John Coulter - previous edition of essential directory

Other 20th century
***½ What If? Alternative Views of Twentieth-Century Ireland, by Diarmaid Ferriter - less interesting than it sounds

Literature
***½ The Star Factory, by Ciaran Carson - literary memoir of growing up in Belfast
***½ More Real Than Reality: The Fantastic in Irish Literature and the Arts, edited by Donald E. Morse and Csilla Bertha - scholarly essays


Fiction

Non-sf
****½ Improbable Frequency, by Arthur Riordan and Bell Helicopter - Myles na gCopaleen and Schrödinger
****½ The New Hennessy Book of Irish Fiction, edited by Dermot Bolger and Ciaran Carty - short stories by new writers
**** A Game of Sharopened Knives, by Neil Belton - De Valera and Schrödinger
**** Odd Man Out, by F.L. Green - base for the classic film
***½ Green Shadows, White Whale: A Novel of Making Moby Dick with John Huston in Ireland, by Ray Bradbury - uneven but interesting

Science Fiction
***½ The Secret Visitors, by James White - aliens in Portballintrae
***½ The Green Gene, by Peter Dickinson - you can tell they're Celts by their skin colour
*** The Rising of the Moon, by Flynn Connolly - women fighting repression in a future theocratic Ireland
*** Darkness Audible, by Graham Andrews - short shories with linking narrative
** Masters of the Fist, by Edward P Hughes - the only fertile man in the post-Holocaust world gets to impregnate all the women of the village

Fantasy
***** The Third Policeman, by Flann O'Brien - my favourite of his writings
***** Thud!, by Terry Pratchett - not explicitly about Northern Ireland but it's not difficult to work it out
****½ The House on the Borderland, by William Hope Hodgson - classic fantasy, though the Irish setting is rather incidental
**** At Swim-Two-Birds, by Flann O'Brien - generally regarded as his masterpiece
**** The Prize in the Game, by Jo Walton - interesting Cuchulain treatment
**** Master of Earth and Water, by Diana L. Paxson and Adrienne Martine-Barnes - Finn MacCool treatment
**** The Hounds of the Morrigan, by Pat O'Shea - good fantasy novel, for younger readers
**** The Compleat Enchanter, by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt - last section is another Cuchulain yarn
**** Preacher: Proud Americans, by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon - vampire's eye view of the Easter Rising
***½ Emerald Magic: Great Tales Of Irish Fantasy, ed. Andrew M. Greeley - fifteen fantasy stories, most published here first
***½ Gossamer Axe, by Gael Baudino - time-travelling rock musician rescues her girlfriend
***½ Red Branch, by Morgan Llewellyn - yet another Cuchulain treatment
*** Too Long a Sacrifice, by Mildred Downey Broxon - more time-travelling, from ancient times to the Troubles
*** Most Ancient Song, by Kenneth C. Flint - unexceptional fantasy novel
*** Carolan's Concerto: a toast to the three sacred pastimes of old Ireland: Music, Storytelling and Whiskey, by Caiseal Mór - Celtic Mist
**½ The Meeting of the Waters: Book One of the Watchers Trilogy, by Caiseal Mór - more Celtic Mist
Tags: world: ireland
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