The Better Truth

    Philip Coleman
    Theo Dorgan’s new collection contains many moving elegies for lost friends but also some of the most moving and beautiful love poems written by any poet writing in English over the last few decades.
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    An Incendiary Film

    Caroline Hurley
    DW Griffith’s ‘Birth of A Nation’, released a hundred years ago and based on a novel by the Scotch-Irish propagandist Thomas Dixon, portrayed the liberation of the slaves in the US South as a plot against civilisation and has been called the most controversial film of all time.
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    Thomas Patrick Byrne

    Thomas Byrne
    Thomas Patrick Byrne (1901-1940) was a casual labourer and soldier until he emigrated to the US, just in time for the great depression. The first in our new series, Irish Lives, in which we will publish brief family histories. Submissions are welcome.
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    Consoling Songs

    Richard Hayes
    Peter Fallon recognises bleakness – the barbed wire of the concentration camp ‘a crown of thorns around the temple of the world’. But, like Orpheus, he can too shape consoling songs from the shards of his own sorrow.
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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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    Domestic Gothic

    Mary Rose Doorly
    Domestic Gothic
    In Alice Munro’s world, in which the grotesque frequently intrudes into the everyday, people often speak of great happiness and great tragedy in the same even voice, scarcely distinguishing between them and hardly ever varying the local tone of functional politeness.
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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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    White Terror

    Hugh Gough
    The repression that followed the defeat of the left-wing revolt known as the Paris Commune led to almost four times as many deaths in ten weeks as the revolutionary terror had achieved in the city in eighteen months. Pope Pius IX called the victims “men escaped from hell”.
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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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    A War Without End

    David Blake Knox
    Steam locomotive C5631 is proudly displayed in the museum at the Yasukuni Shrine in Japan, where prime ministers come to honour war criminals. There is no mention there of the hundreds of thousands of prisoners who died building the WWII railway on which it ran.
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