Mick: The Real Michael Collins

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9780143038542: Mick: The Real Michael Collins

Few leaders in history have been as mythologized as Michael Collins. Before his death at 31, he had fought in the Easter Rising, organized the IRA and out-spied British intelligence, negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty, and run the first independent government in Ireland. Peter Hart’s groundbreaking biography restores humanity to this mythical figure. Drawing on previously unknown sources, delving into Collins’s pre-revolutionary past, and assessing the methods—and the costs—of his rise to power, Mick reveals a man of often ruthless ambition, more politician than soldier, whose friendships went no farther than his interests. A work as thrilling as it is authoritative.

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About the Author:

Peter Hart is the Canada Research Chair of Irish Studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the author of The I.R.A. and Its Enemies (winner of the ChristopherEwart-Biggs Memorial Prize) and two other books on modern Irish history.

From Publishers Weekly:

Hart (The I.R.A. and Its Enemies) is to be commended for his research, but his revisionist view of Irish revolutionary Michael Collins (1890–1922) is fraught with misconceptions. For example, he describes how dispirited the "G" Division (or Special Branch, in charge of political intelligence) of the Dublin Metropolitan Police was in 1919, giving the impression that its members were harmless—and innocent. Yet later on he says the "Special Branch was indeed responsible for murder and torture." This is key to the legacy of Collins, which completely eludes Hart. Collins knew he could not win the revolution on a grand scale. Thus, the battle for Ireland's freedom would come down to an event known as "Bloody Sunday." On November 21, 1920, agents of Collins's infamous Squad assassinated 14 British secret service agents in one morning. Hart dismisses the importance of Bloody Sunday—he gives it two pages— as a messy, almost fruitless endeavor. But the Fenian math is irrefutable: 700 years of British occupation ended within 54 weeks of Bloody Sunday. Hart has an irritating way of inserting himself into the biography, throwing in asides that only lessen the effect of the narrative. This book is best utilized after reading the outstanding biographies of Collins (such as Tim Pat Coogan's Michael Collins), which allow the reader to at least put Hart's assumptions into proper historical perspective. Map. (Feb. 20)
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