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Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

    The Green Island

    Philip O’Connor
    The Green Island
    A valuable study of the treatment of Ireland in sections of the German print media shows an evolution from a reliance on a jumble of cliches about the nation – often of English provenance – to a more informed engagement, particularly on the part of Hamburg’s ‘Die Zeit’.
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    The City Spreads Out

    Erika Hanna
    Dublin is often celebrated as a Georgian city, or a medieval or Viking one. But for many Dubliners it has been essentially a mid-twentieth century city. It was in these decades, from the 1930s through to the 1960s, that the suburbs where many of us grew up were built.
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    Home Affairs

    PJ Drudy
    From the 1990s onward the provision of homes for sale or rent was to become almost exclusively market-driven in Ireland. If individuals or families had the ability to pay they could purchase or rent homes. Without resources, however, they could do without.
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    The Forgotten Frontier

    Darach MacDonald
    A border can be a bridge on which to meet, wrote Claudio Magris, or it can be a barrier of rejection. Both Dublin and Belfast have tended to try to forget the people who live around Ireland’s border, but this looking the other way may not be sustainable for much longer.
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    Changing Direction

    Frank Barry
    Economic stagnation in the Ireland of the 1950s persuaded many that a different economic course must be tried out. The name of TK Whitaker is intimately associated with the new departure, but the changes that occurred did not exactly match the recipe he initially offered.
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    Poisoned Apple

    Martin O’Malloney
    Claims that the European Commission is picking on little Ireland in the Apple taxation case fail to take into account that we are talking about the richest company in the world. Ireland will also ignore at its peril the rising tide of popular indignation over wholesale tax avoidance by multinationals.
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    The New Souperism

    John Horgan
    The New Souperism
    Irish parents are often forced to have their children participate in a form of religious observance in which they themselves do not believe in exchange for educational and social benefits. We once called this souperism. And the current shabby compromise designed to confuse the unwary could best be described as souperism lite.
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    Not So Very Different

    Kevin Hjortshøj O’Rourke
    Not So Very Different

    There can at times be an attention-seeking particularism about Irish writing - look at us, and at how unique and how very interesting we are. But in terms of our post-independence economic history we are much like many comparable peripheral European states, with similar failures and similar successes.


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    Steady As She Goes

    John Mulqueen
    From 1987 to the intoxicating highs of the Celtic Tiger, peaking in 2008, then crashing, there would be one political certainty in Ireland: most voters would choose a mainstream party in a general election. Even in 2011, the three established parties still dominated the scene.
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    Knock, knock

    John Bradley
    Politicians sometimes consider that facing up to the consequences of their mistakes entitles them to be regarded as brave. But in the case of the Irish crash the warnings were there long before 2008. Hell was at the gates and the banging getting louder, but no one was listening.
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    Ghost Frequencies

    Bryan Fanning
    Immediately a man dies for what he believes, Robert Lynd wrote after the death of Pearse, everything he has said or written assumes a new value and his words seem mysteriously laden with meaning, a ghostly bequest in regard to which we do not feel quite free to play the critic.
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    Cold War Art

    Brenda Moore-McCann

    The Rosc art exhibitions, which ran in Dublin for twenty years in the second half of the last century, opened up Ireland to the experience of modern and Modernist art. But did the impulse for them come from the Congress for Cultural Freedom, and its ultimate paymaster, the CIA?


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    Bunker Days

    Witness Seminar
    Bunker Days
    In December 1985 a number of Irish civil servants bedded down in a bleak office-cum-living quarters in Belfast, their job to oversee the implementation of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. With protesters howling at the gates, they lived under siege, but gradually established good relations with many of their political and security partners.
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    Making the Jump

    Frank Barry
    A ‘hard Brexit’ will undoubtedly create grave difficulties for Irish-owned businesses and ‘tariff-jumping’ foreign direct investment will come to seem an obvious response. Irish firms will establish operations in the UK, as Jacob’s, Guinness and Carroll’s have done in the past.
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    Beyond the Failure Narrative

    Philip O’Connor
    A version of independent Ireland’s economic history which ignores the unfavourable starting point and then goes on to compare our performance with states whose circumstances were clearly different is more in the nature of a myth than a balanced historical account.
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    Money with Morals

    Seán Byrne
    Ireland’s reliance on multinational investment puts it in the demeaning position of having to constantly adapt to the changing needs of multinational companies. Meanwhile, our fiercely defended low rate of corporation tax is under severe threat now that our main ally in defending it is leaving the EU.
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    At the Apex

    Donncha O’Connell
    A major new study of Ireland’s highest court brilliantly tells the story of the people ‑ judges, lawyers and litigants ‑ that shaped its institutional personality, the doctrinal battles that ended up there and the impact of its decisions on politics and society.
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    Door Into The Dark

    David Wheatley
    Door Into The Dark
    Proponents of the ‘best are leaving’ theory of emigration deplored the losses but were wary of the suggestion that providing a basic standard of living was any business of the Irish state. Anti-materialists feared prosperity could weaken the racial stock by making life too easy.
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    Enabling the Future

    Neil Buttimer
    Having devoted an amount of absorbing scholarship to exploring how regressive much of twentieth century Ireland became, Tom Garvin is astonished at finding a fellow countryman of consequence in the person of the Gaelic scholar and diplomat Daniel Binchy.
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    Small is Beautiful

    Siniša Malešević
    Much of the rhetoric of Irish nationalism focused on the idea of a small nation, oppressed by a larger one. The nationalism of the Balkan states, in contrast, tended to emphasise the idea of ‘greatness’, though in many important senses these were smaller polities than Ireland.
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    Out of the Rut

    John Horgan
    The 1960s saw Ireland escaping for a few years from the glumness of the previous decade before crisis returned in 1973. It was a happy time to be middle class and young. However, the good times were differentially distributed and not everyone’s memories are happy.
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    Not Our Fault

    Sean Byrne
    A senior official of Ireland’s Department of Finance concludes that all the officials he worked with in the run-up to the country’s economic collapse were dedicated, hard-working and of the highest intellectual ability. If this were the case why did they not see the crisis coming?
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    The Analyst as Eeyore

    Tom Hennigan
    Fintan O’Toole’s narrow focus allows him to portray Irish public life as suffering a grave malaise, a condition one could almost say was unique to our society. His closely cropped view allows him to denounce our public services as “squalid”. But squalid compared to what or to where?
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    Before the Flood

    Connal Parr
    A new memoir recalls an artistic and political controversy which rocked Northern Ireland more than fifty years ago, at a time when its labour traditions were still strong and the Northern Ireland Labour Party attracted a quarter of the vote and the loyalty of much of Belfast’s working class.
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    On a Wing and a Prayer

    Patrick Gillan
    In 1978 John Zachary DeLorean made a successful pitch for British state aid to start production in West Belfast of what he said would be the “world’s most ethical mass production car”. There was very little that was ethical about what followed.
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    Speaking for Ireland

    John Bradley
    Speaking for Ireland
    For a state embroiled in conflict, the crucial time for reflection on future possibilities is not when peace has arrived but during the final stages of the conflict, when a clear identification of the possibilities about to be opened up is essential in order to drive the practical bargaining.
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    The Great Incendiary

    Tom Wall
    The Great Incendiary
    A new study of James Larkin takes some of the shine off his reputation; still, plaster saints are no longer in vogue. Big Jim’s vision was fundamentally moral. His gift to workers will be remembered and he can afford to be taken down a peg or two and still tower above.
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    A Larkinite In Power

    Barry Desmond
    Frank Cluskey had some very considerable achievements to his credit as a Labour Party minister in coalition governments, but he found himself at odds with many in his party, in particular over attitudes to the violence that was then beginning to unfold in the North.
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    A Necessary Correction

    Frank Callanan
    A Necessary Correction
    Arthur Griffith is the most misunderstood major figure of twentieth century Irish history. Garret FitzGerald, one of the few to give his views much attention, still characterised him quite wrongly as a “narrow nationalist”. A new and original biography makes amends.
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    Hiss! Boo! Take it off!

    Adrian Hardiman
    The noisy censure of a dramatic performance must, in legal principle, be the expression of the feelings of the moment. If it is premeditated ‘by a number of persons confederated beforehand’ it becomes criminal. Such was the background to the ‘Playboy’ riots of 1907.
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    Cocking A Snook

    John McCourt
    ‘The Lepracaun Cartoon Monthly’, which ran from 1905 to 1915, was Dublin’s leading satirical publication. While its sympathies were more with Sinn Féin, Home Rule campaigner John Redmond, in his triumphs and failure, was to feature extensively in its pages.
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    Tell It Like It Is

    Andy Pollak
    During the years of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the media, and particularly BBC television, came under pressure to assist the state’s war against armed revolt rather than fulfilling its duty to be impartial and to inform. For the most part, it resisted that pressure
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    Irish Visionaries

    Bryce Evans
    A collection of essays on figures drawn from five centuries, from William Petty to Fintan O’Toole, who set themselves to think about Ireland is vigorous in its argument and confident in its provision of intellectual armour for future discussions about the state of the nation.
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    Steadfast Comrade

    Brian Kenny
    A loyal Moscow communist Sean Murray set up the Communist Party of Ireland in the early 1930s. Years of meetings, discussions and disputes followed. Murray's life was devoted to the cause but did all that work amount to a hill of beans?
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    Lost Connections

    Maurice Earls
    Lost Connections
    Most groups wrongfooted by the advent of Irish independence in the 1920s have since made their peace with it: the state’s Protestant minority, Trinity College, even diehard republicans. But the Jesuit order, it seems, is still dragging its feet and hankering after what has been lost.
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    Friends At War

    John Mulqueen
    The Irish Civil War has often been presented as a conflict in which ‘the men of no property’ challenged those with a stake in the country for dominance. But this analysis ignores the plentiful support there was for the Free State government among the very poorest classes.
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    Investigating the ‘Irish’ Family

    In spite of changes, most Irish people’s sense of self, the way they see and understand themselves, is developed and maintained in terms of relations with parents and siblings. Linda Connolly introduces a new study of the subject she has edited.
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    Out of Sight, Out of Mind

    Bryan Fanning
    Studies of the erosion of Catholic religious practice among the Irish in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s found that many emigrants very quickly melted into the non-religious atmosphere of the host country as soon as they felt they were no longer under close observation.
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    The Old Order and the New

    Eoin O’Malley
    Fianna Fáil dominated the old three-party – or two-and-a half-party system - for so long due to political skill and its good fortune in usually being out of office when recession struck. But now the old system is changing in favour of a new one in which class and demographics count for more.
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    A Bit of Help, Comrade?

    John Mulqueen
    Throughout the 1980s, two left-wing parties, the increasingly ambitious and successful SFWP, later WP, and the Communist Party of Ireland (CPI) competed for the favour and financial support of the Soviet bloc. But at the end of the decade it all came tumbling down.
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    On Not Being Smart Enough

    Clara Fischer
    Philosophy remains one of the least diverse disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. While great strides have been made in other subject areas, certainly in the European and North American context, university philosophy still includes woefully few women.
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    Holding the Balance

    Pat Rabbitte
    Holding the Balance
    The Progressive Democrats did not break the mould of Irish politics and should bear some of the responsibility for creating the conditions that led to the 2008 economic collapse. But we should perhaps still be grateful to them for standing between Charles Haughey and absolute power.
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    Bright Spirits

    John Borgonovo
    Bright Spirits
    Roy Foster’s new book focuses on a group of brilliant Irish bohemians and intellectuals who were active from 1916 to 1923, though often marginalised thereafter. Their lives are fascinating, but one should be wary of overstating their centrality to ‘the revolutionary generation’.
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    Death by Respectability?

    John Horgan
    The discussion group Tuairim, active in Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s, made many thoughtful contributions to intellectual debate, but it is another matter to say it was influential, in a society in which those with political ideas but outside formal politics were largely ignored.
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    Partisan reviews

    Bryan Fanning
    From Pearse and Connolly, through AE, Sean O’Faolain, John Mulcahy and Vincent Browne, a number of specialist periodicals have set out to write against the grain of mainstream Irish society and provide a space for diversity of opinion not available in national newspapers or the provincial press.
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    The Big Show

    Pádraig Yeates
    A new book on 1914-18 is lavishly illustrated and, without doubt, a rollicking good read. This is military history as entertainment on a scale that we have not seen since, well, since the First World War.
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    A Voice Seldom Heard

    John Bradley
    There are two ways of responding to perceived injustice: you can complain, or you can get out. If you are loyal to the organisation you will not get out; your choice then is between speaking out and remaining silent. Micheál Mac Gréil chose to stay in and speak out.
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    Behind the Erin Curtain

    Bryan Fanning
    If our economic insufficiencies in the 1950s were obvious, and our attempts to address them obviously inadequate, this might not be because history, or our inescapable national character, were stacked against us. The fault, an unlikely clerical source argued, might not be in our stars but in ourselves.
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    Budget Ritual and Reality

    John Bradley
    The question we will face in the coming years is whether we can trust governments in Ireland to take wise budgetary decisions that are in the wider, long-term interests of citizens rather than in the narrow, short-term interests of politicians, lobby groups and powerful banks
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    Hair of the Dog?

    Michael O’Sullivan
    Hair of the Dog?
    Europe is a conglomeration of different economic models, whose various recessions have been provoked by disparate causes requiring distinct remedies. As in a hospital ward where one patient suffers from a broken leg, another gout and another cancer, a common treatment will fail to cure the majority of patients.
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    In From the Cold

    John O’Brennan
    As Ireland set about applying to join the EEC in the 1950s the anti-British discourse on which Irish nationalism relied began to look rather specious, set against the evidence of our overwhelming economic dependence on the UK: this was an asymmetrical relationship like no other in Europe.
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    Unquiet Graves, Unsettled Accounts

    Jeremy Kearney
    Between 1926 and 1951, the average number of people confined in industrial schools, reformatories, Magdalene laundries, county homes, mother and baby homes or mental institutions in Ireland was 31,500, or one per cent of the population.
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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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    Thinking Deep

    John Bradley
    An academic discipline based on idealised economic systems which permit the application of a great deal of theoretical sophistication has produced cohorts of graduates with little knowledge of history or the real world. These idiot savants can manipulate mathematical models but have little to contribute to actual business practice or economic management.
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    Commemorating what? And why?

    Padraig Yeates
    Commemorating what? And why?
    Our acts of remembrance in this decade of commemoration should perhaps include some consideration of the failures of the past as well as its successes, and indeed the failures of the present. And might this not be a good time to have done with militarism once and for all?
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    Pregnant, Seeking Asylum

    Ronit Lentin
    In 2004 a majority endorsed the removal of the right to citizenship of children born in Ireland to non-Irish parents. Along the way, pregnant women legally seeking asylum were cast as illegal immigrants abusing Irish hospitality. A new book argues that an intersection of racism, sexism, and a ‘heteronormative’ ideology lies behind Irish immigration policy.
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    Captain Mighthavebeen

    Andy Pollak
    Captain Mighthavebeen
    The mid-1960s saw a relaxation of old certainties among both communities in Northern Ireland. The unionist leader Terence O’Neill was conscious that it was necessary to offer some remedy to the discrimination that Catholics suffered, but even his mild measures of reform did not win majority support within his own community.
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    The Red and the Green

    John Mulqueen
    Ireland long had two parties competing for the favour of the Soviet Union. One was to remain tiny and irrelevant; the other found that its strategy of formulating ‘reformist demands in the mouth of a revolutionary party’ was not sustainable as reformism became for leading members not a pose but their real ideological home.
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    Do the right thing

    Manus Charleton
    The debate over ethics and the role it might or might not play in economic life sparked by recent comments from President Higgins could be informed by a study of the Irish Enlightenment thinker Francis Hutcheson, who posited an objective source for our feelings of right and wrong.
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    The Road to Partition

    Frank Callanan
    At times the Irish question in its final parliamentary phase resembles a vast deserted asylum whose last inhabitants are its historians, who begin to fear that having arrived as visitors they have become confined as inmates.
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    Where we are

    Thomas Murray
    We are, somewhat unsurprisingly, where we are. But how did we get there? And does our constitution have anything to do with it? It can be argued that the 1937 assemblage of principles has served us well. But who exactly has it served well? The property-owners or the people?
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    1916 As Spectacle

    Angus Mitchell
    In an age when martyrdom is demonised and tagged with notions of fanaticism and people are reluctant to protest for a cause let alone die for one, 1916 presents an easy target.

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    Debating the Nation

    John Swift

    An anthology of the most important Dáil debates of the last sixty years covers vital economic matters, Northern Ireland and the nation’s ongoing difficulties with matters of sexual morality and their consequences.
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    Getting Beyond No

    Connal Parr

    There are stirrings in Ulster Loyalist groupings which may, if they mature, disprove the old cliché that Northern Protestants have no culture other than the Orange Order and Rangers football club.
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    Challenging the State

    John Mulqueen

    The 1970s was a transitional decade for Ireland in which new social movements emerged and the state acted decisively against movements which were prepared to use lethal violence within the jurisdiction.
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    Labour Waits

    Padraig Yeates

    Irish socialism was divided and weak in the early decades of the twentieth century, while the axis of trade union solidarity ran through Dublin and Merseyside, not Dublin, Belfast and Cork.
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    A Revolutionary Janus

    Padraig Yeates
    In a sense, most of the old guard never fully understood, and certainly never accepted the consequences of, the process they had initiated. If they had, they would have released control of the Workers Party with good grace to De Rossa and the new guard. By not only attempting to hold onto power but reactivating IRA structures in order to do so they ensured both sides lost out in the long term.
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    New Irelands

    Barra Ó Seaghdha
    French Catholic culture offered a supplementary world, and in some cases a focus for unfulfilled longings, for those who found Free State culture insufficient or repetitive. Conor Cruise O’Brien’s Maria Cross can strike today’s reader as brilliantly eccentric, an anomaly; it should instead be regarded as the finest analytical product of a culture we have almost forgotten.
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