The Big Smoke

The Big Smoke

Jim Smyth

A comprehensive new study of Ireland’s capital bridges social and cultural, political, economic, educational, administrative, demographic, maritime, infrastructural and architectural histories of the city and deals as easily with the world of the locked out and the urban poor as it does with the Kildare Street Club, the Shelbourne and Jammet’s

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Hanging Out With The Molecules

Hanging Out With The Molecules

Andrew Lees

The early 1950s voyages of William S Burroughs to Peru led to his discovery of the hallucinogenic vine yagé and issued in a book of notes and letters to his friend Allen Ginsberg in which he presented himself not only as a mystic and spiritual quester but also as a whistleblower on the activities of the Cold War superpowers.

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The word from the trenches

The word from the trenches

Derek Scally

On its publication in book form in Germany in 1929, this great anti-war novel met with both critical and popular success. But in 1933 it was to receive the ultimate accolade when it was tossed onto the bonfires by Nazi students from Berlin’s Humboldt University, along with the works of Heine, Marx, Einstein and the Mann brothers.

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Tell me about your Mother

Susan McCallum Smith

Nuala Ní Chonchúir’s new novel portrays the challenge of being both mother and artist, its most interesting character an emotionally abusive alcoholic for whom motherhood has not been enough and who dares to suggest it is possible for a mother to feel ambivalence toward her child.

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God is Dead, Long Live Religion

Matthew Parkinson-Bennett

According to Terry Eagleton, the history of the modern age is among other things the search for a viceroy for God. Yet it has been difficult for any substitute to emulate religion’s success, to bridge the gap, as it does, between high and low, elite and masses, rarefied ideas and common practice.

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Leaping into Darkness

Cormac Ó Gráda

After a decade of modest growth, in 1958 the Chinese authorities launched the Great Leap Forward, a reckless campaign aimed at greatly accelerating economic development. What resulted was, in terms of the number of its victims, the greatest famine ever.

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Epiphanies and Voids

Pádraig Murphy

Attention to the apparently insignificant is a particular feature of Japanese art. It is an aspect of Zen’s emphasis on giving attention not to theory or to abstract truth, but to concrete, existing reality, the here and now.

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Blowing Their Winnings

Marc Mulholland

There has never, in the classical sociological sense, been a more proletarian nation than Britain, and yet there has never been a time in British history when the working class really seemed to seriously challenge the established order and threaten to take power for itself.

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Casting a Spell

David Blake Knox

The older I get, John Burnside remarks, the happier my childhood gets. In a third volume of memoirs he goes further towards an understanding of his father, a threatening alcoholic for whom, he had said in an earlier book, cruelty came close to being an ideology.

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The Insurrectionist

Thomas Fitzgerald

1916 leader Sean Mac Diarmada despised Ireland’s involvement in the British parliamentary tradition. He believed that an uprising, and the likely self-sacrifice of its leaders, would lead Ireland to independent nationhood.

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The Restoration Drama

John Feehan

Nature is beyond our control, and lost ecosystems cannot be fully recovered. Yet our own survival depends on how we deal with questions of environmental conservation and restoration – and there are reasons for optimism, despite the reality of climate change and the scale of the problem.

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One City, Many Voices

Lucy Collins

A new collection confines itself to poems about the city of Dublin but does not lack breadth or variety, spanning the centuries, including outsider as well as insider perspectives, and placing the old in dialogue with the new.

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The Rich Man in his Castle

Sean Byrne

 Few now believe that the positions of the high and the lowly are ordained by God, but the increasingly entrenched political defenders of the super-rich still maintain that massive inequality is in the nature of things and must at all costs be preserved. As Gore Vidal said and Thomas Piketty’s study confirms, it’s not enough to succeed - others must fail.

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Complications

Seamus O’Mahony

Surgery, and perhaps particularly neurosurgery, can be profoundly rewarding. But there is always the possibility of mistakes, those little slips that can lead to disaster and another headstone in the cemetery that all surgeons carry around with them.

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A Month in the Summer

Dermot Meleady

In the midsummer of 1914, Ireland’s nationalist and unionist communities were on a collision course over developments affecting the future government of Ireland. Just as the crisis was about to materialise in violence, it was averted – for the moment – by a larger conflict.

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Out on the Edge

Terry Barry

The people known as the Normans flourished in many parts of Europe in the early centuries of the second millennium AD. Their castles and fortifications are found as far west as Ireland, as far south as southern Italy and Sicily and as far east as Antioch.

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Joyce’s Comic Strips

Keith Payne

A well-drawn portrait of our greatest artist that recounts some of the adventures of his life and work might be just the thing to perk up the days and weeks beyond Bloomsday, when, as like as not, rain could well again be general over Ireland.

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New Poems

Gerald Dawe

These four new poems by Gerald Dawe are from Mickey Finn’s Air, to be published later this year by Gallery Press

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Living through Extermination

James Wickham

The concentration camps were extermination camps: when prisoners were not immediately murdered, they were subjected to a regime few could long survive. Yet this is not so unprecedented in human history. Eighteenth century slaves were not only routinely subjected to the most sadistic punishments but also worked to death.

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Turn Down That Racket

Sean L’Estrange

Mike Goldsmith's engaging grand tour of the world of noise takes us from the (silent) "Big Bang" and the general quiet of pre-historic times to contemporary problems of noise pollution. An enjoyable read, full of insight and wit, it is a model of what popular science writing should do.

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Britain and Ireland Begin

Rory McTurk

Two studies of early British history and prehistory and of a roughly equivalent period in Ireland leave the reader in no doubt as to how closely interrelated the two countries are, and indeed have been from time immemorial.

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Is the Pope a Communist?

Angela Nagle

Some people are impressed by the apparent humility of Pope Francis and his objections to market capitalism. But should the left regard him as an ally or is socialism not more about production and plenty than simplicity and austerity?

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But I Live in Dublin

Sean Sheehan

The Dublin Notebook, appearing as the seventh volume in OUP’s collected Hopkins, is an exemplary work of scholarship and from now any serious piece of writing about the last phase of Hopkins’s life will rely on and be grateful for the painstaking work of its two editors.

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One Onion, Many Layers

Maurice Earls

Irish Catholic social elites, emerging confidently after the ebb of British anti-Catholicism in the nineteenth century, increasingly sent their children to schools, both in England and in Ireland, created on the public school model. There some of them learned that the highest duty of a gentleman was to play the game.

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Response

Bill Kautt

A letter from Bill Kautt in response to a recent review of his book: Ground Truths: British Army Operations in the Irish War of Independence.

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The Shining River

Kevin Stevens

A chapter-length extract from Kevin Stevens’s new novel, an urban crime drama about money, race, and class set in Kansas City in the 1930s.

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Response to Review

 The author  of Massacre in West Cork maintains that Gerard Murphy’s review contains many errors. The author, Barry Keane, also argues that the reviewer engages in crass speculation regarding his motives.

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Janus-Faced Europe

It is now in the interests of the EU to set about calming the bear at its door, convincing the Russians that mutual respect and trade is in everyone’s interest and that no one will benefit from a new great game conducted in Eastern Europe.

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Look! No Wheels!

The Cold War, or at least the First Cold War, is now long over. Curiously, it ended without a war. Afterwards, the US global hegemony that some predicted failed to materialise. As in other areas, victories in history don’t always amount to as much as was expected. Meanwhile the debate seeking a credible explanation for the implosion of the Soviet Union continues.

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On the Necessary Execution of a Prince

Was the recent arrest, trial and execution of North Korea's number two politician just another sign of the madness of the regime? Or was it perhaps a sign to the people that things could actually change for the better and that no one - none of 'them' - was necessarily too powerful to evade punishment?

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HAVE A NICE DAY, DAY, DAY ...

Fast food workers in the States don’t earn enough to eat ... fast food. Too bad, say the employers, what they do can easily be done by machines.

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Slim Pickings for the Soft Left

France has long been a beacon for social democrats but we may be looking at the beginning of the fall of social France. The political elites of right and left increasingly conform to Peter Mair’s idea of the cartel party, but the politically crucial fact is that they conform on the right of the spectrum.

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Love as a principle, order as its base

In advance of the first round of Brazil’s presidential election, Tom Hennigan reflects on the significance of the country’s unusual ‘retro-futurist’ national flag and in particular of its famous motto celebrating order and progress.

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Fighting over the flag

Some sections of unionist opinion fought a rearguard action after Irish independence, though harassed by Sinn Fein in particular. God Save The Queen was sung at the horse show at the RDS even in the late 1940s.

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The thickness of books

Books are a different class of object, argues Toby Munday, profoundly unlike magazines, newspapers, blogs, games or social media sites. They will be damaged if they are treated as if they are the same.

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Are you dancin'? Are you askin'?

You put your right leg in, your right leg out. In, out, in, out. You shake it all about. You do the Hokey Cokey and you turn around. That's what it's all about.

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Look at the birds of the air

Gilbert White, an 18th century country parson and naturalist, wrote in sumptuous detail of the animal and bird life he observed around him. Here he is on the varieties of birdsong.

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The Literary Racket

Edgar Allan Poe was resolutely unimpressed by the modus operandi of the press, and in particular those sections of it in which literary opinions were offered and books reviewed.

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Flattering the people

If, as politicians like to assert, the people aren't stupid, why do we have a word for it? Surely it wasn't coined just for Afghan hounds.

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Monkey Business

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu met the divil on the bus. Very freaky.

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Le Fanu's dark imagination

Less well known, but probably a better writer than Bram Stoker, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu was born two hundred years ago today.

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More gin for the editor

William Maginn, who died 170 years ago today, was a child prodigy from Cork who became a brilliant newspaper editor in London. But sadly, the drink got to him.

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The birth of Irish democracy

Did Irish democracy develop in the 1920s in the early years of the new state or were it seeds sown a long time before?

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Home is a sad place

With his fortieth birthday the realisation came to Philip Larkin that he had done nothing with the `fat fillet-steak' part of life.

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The sentences in my head

László Krasnahorkai talks to George Szirtes about how he writes and what he reads.

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Why they went to war

Why did the soldiers join up and go to be slaughtered in France, Belgium or Gallipoli? Sometimes because the misery of their lives made them think that anything would be better.

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Paxman in Meath

The popular television presenter and historian will be lecturing next week at the Hay Festival Kells on the Great War, an event about which he has a very clear and simple idea.

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Forty days of sunshine

The Book of Kells will be joined by some other outstanding Irish manuscripts on display in Trinity College Dublin in 2016.

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A bookselling institution

The famous Foyle's bookshop in central London is moving to a spectacularly beautiful new premises just down the road from its traditional Charing Cross Road pitch.

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New Books

Ireland 1912 - 1922

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Irish Literature

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World Literature

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Irish History & Politics

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World History & Politics

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Irish Culture, Philosophy & Science

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World Culture, Philosophy & Science

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