Richard Killeen is a historian and the editorial director of an Irish publishing company. He has written a number of books on Ireland’s past including A Short History of the 1916 Rising and The Concise History of Modern Ireland.
Killeen makes good use of the few words he has room for here. I learned that the big historical divides are more complex and deeper than I had known before. Not just Catholic vs Protestant and English vs Irish, but
The brevity leaves little room for documentation of cultural and literary interest, influences, and ideas except where they intersect with the political history. Yeats gets four brief mentions, and musical superpower U2 none. Indeed the last two decades seem summed up in a rush. Perhaps another 50 pages to cover this ground in more depth could have been allowed within the title's adjective.
But Killeen provides exactly what is promised and satisfies the reader's desire for a basic grounding in Irish history. And he provides recommendations for deeper dives with a bibliographical essay on sources at the end.
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