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Books On the 1798 Rebellion

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Irish Books Discussion:     Books On the 1798 Rebellion

A few good books on the 1798 Irish Rebellion

The year of liberty: The story of the Great Irish Rebellion of 1798

Wolfe Tone : Prophet of Irish Independence

And this one which I am a part way through and is a good read.

Rebels and Informers : Stirrings of Irish Independence

Editorial Reviews:

"There are a hundred miles of book shelves full of eighteenth-century Irish history. But perhaps, for all that, there is no such thing as Irish history at all--the past, present and future being the same thing." Quite a bold statement from an author purporting to shed new light on a key moment in that history, which set in motion today's tragic struggle in the north of Ireland. But Oliver Knox is a master of detail, a man who knows his subject intimately. His obsession to trace the origins of "the troubles" springs from his own roots in Ireland.

In spite of increasing tolerance and the relative peace enjoyed in mid-18th-century Ireland, the century ended in bloodshed. The United Irish movement, founded in 1791, would yoke the Protestants' resentment toward an unrepresentative Parliament to Irish resentment, chafing against their historic exclusion from political and professional life. That odd yoking of Protestants to Catholics was volatile, for when they joined in their fight against England, "a movement that was militant, populist, ruthless, conspiratorial" was created.

Knox hangs his historical analysis (although that word can not convey the humor and fondness that permeates this work) on four rebel protagonists, chosen as much for their charm, idiosyncrasies, and eloquence as for the pivotal places they held in the rebellion. There is Wolfe Tone, a hero of mythic proportions, but who also attracted Knox for the "disarming yet ultimately tragic thread of theatrical self-mockery which runs through his writings." There is Archibald Hamilton Rowan--a man of honor and principle--given to such odd whims as taking opossums across the Atlantic. There is William Drennan, whose flights into poetry mitigated a self-righteousness and pomposity; and finally Lord Edward Fitzgerald with his "dangerous charm--even more dangerous to himself than to others." The characters and their cloak-and-dagger actions sometimes read like grand opera. Knox includes an exhaustive amount of the intelligence gathered by the informers to show the cat-and-mouse dynamic between the government and the rebellion

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