Ireland and the Irish: Portrait of a Changing Society

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9780140171600: Ireland and the Irish: Portrait of a Changing Society

This is a book about Ireland and the Irish. Although not history, it will cover the past extensively, although not politics it will cover north and south, "the troubles" and their background. There will be much about the people, their defining national character and personality, the relationship to Europe, Britain and the US and although not literary criticism, there will be a lot about the arts and literature of the country.

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From Library Journal:

The author, among other works, of France Today (Penguin, 1988) and Germany and the Germans (Harper, 1987), Ardagh is particularly adroit at drawing cultural portraits of European countries. Ardagh's ability to tell readers enough about his subject to inform them, without a great deal of theoretical or historical background, remains his greatest strength. Turning his hand to contemporary Ireland, he once again has produced a worthwhile book, although not quite of the same depth as the France and Germany titles. His theme is the movement of Ireland from self-encapsulation to European identity, from provincialism to a modern pluralist and somewhat secularized society. Ardagh draws on interviews, stories, and description to highlight the improved condition of the economy, the state of agriculture, the problems of urban sprawl in Dublin, the (slowly) changing status of women, and the struggle of the Church to grapple with a changing Irish society. While Ardagh has grasped the central issues and problems of this unique island, it must be stated that his book, however well crafted, remains a snapshot of Ireland and that one must turn to other works for a more probing analysis. Highly recommended for the general reader.?Richard B. Finnegan, Stonehill Coll., North Easton, Mass.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

"The Irish are keen to be part of Europe, but their gaze is mainly at themselves. They know what they think, and they don't want to be confused by the facts." With that statement, the author takes the reader on a wonderful trip around the Ireland of today, which?with the help of the EEC and TV?has finally burst into the 20th century with an eagerness and an aggressiveness that are tempered by old-time moral values. Ardagh looks at Ireland and change in Ireland through its politicians: the autarchic and myopic Eamon de Valera, the visionary Sean Lemass, the rogue Charlie Haughey and chic President Mary Robinson. He sees a young country (44% of the population is under 25) that attempts to coax the high-tech corporations of Japan, Germany and the U.S. to its shores but still treasures its own music, culture and language. Ireland, according to the author, is the "Pope's last bastion," where 82% of the population attend Sunday mass. But Ireland's Catholics no longer blindly obey Rome's rulings: Birth control is in and the issue of divorce still pending. It is a nation divided politically, slowly coming together, where the most eager students of the Irish language are Northern Protestants. Ardagh (France Today) has written an eye-opening, comprehensive and delightful book.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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