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

Blood of Spain

John Mulqueen
In the first half of 1936 there were seventy political killings a month in Spain. This was really nothing new, rather the latest outbreak in a long war between ‘the ordered, timeless hierarchies’ of church, army and landowner and the urban proletariat and its peasant allies.
Mar 3, 2021, 19:42 PM

Labour Titan

Henry Patterson
Ernest Bevin never knew who his father was and was orphaned aged eight. He started work as a farm labourer at eleven and later became a lay preacher and union organiser. As foreign secretary in the post-1945 Labour government he helped stiffen the Americans’ resolve to stand up to Stalin.
Feb 4, 2021, 14:48 PM

The Necessary Other

Enda O’Doherty
Categorising groups of people as ‘Other’ is a practice that seems to be frowned upon in the best intellectual circles. But there are markers apart from ethnicity, nationality and religion. Why shouldn’t we regard those who strongly oppose our values as fundamentally different?
Jan 7, 2021, 13:59 PM

Not a Gentleman

Tadhg Foley
The Buddhist monk known as U Dhammaloka was a powerful leader of Burmese nationalism, venerated to the point of adulation by thousands of supporters. In his origins he was a working class Dubliner, who one source said ‘could charm the heart of an old wheelbarrow’.
Jan 7, 2021, 13:52 PM

Imperial Warrior

Angus Mitchell
Kennedy Trevaskis was a colonial administrator for the British empire until, in 1964, he was sacked by a Labour minister he sneered at as ‘a Hampstead Socialist’. His memoir reminds us of a vanished world of empire in which, to those in charge, black lives didn’t greatly matter.
Oct 7, 2020, 10:26 AM

Our Enemies’ Enemies

John Mulqueen
At the outset of the Cold War, the Vatican and the United States had a project in common, helping senior Nazis escape justice by providing them with new identities and false papers. Their crimes became irrelevant as the West ‘turned on a sixpence’ to confront its new enemy, Russia.
Sep 3, 2020, 14:30 PM

Portrait of Fox

Adam Boate
Isaiah Berlin did not share the view that philosophy, and particularly practical philosophy, could be coherently pursued independently of history or, more specifically, of a certain historical self-awareness which springs from a knowledge and appreciation of the past.
Sep 3, 2020, 13:30 PM

A World of Tears

Leanne Ogasawara
The Dionysian horde that Nietzsche surely imagined battering the walls of the besieged city of Wörth in 1870 was the same horde that devastated Europe in the Thirty Years War in Rubens’s time. One war begets another, taking Europeans all the way back to the walls of Troy.
Jul 3, 2020, 08:01 AM

History in a Shoebox

Katrina Goldstone
The fashion writer Hadley Freeman came upon a shoebox when rummaging through her grandmother’s wardrobe. The past it hinted of led her on a hunt through the archives that eventually uncovered the tragic and inspiring history of her Jewish family’s experiences in wartime France.
Jun 2, 2020, 18:44 PM

Didn’t They Do Well?

Andy Pollak
Irish settlers in Argentina saw no contradiction between leaving a country wracked by land conflict and occupying land in the one to which they’d moved from which the native people had been expelled. For they were a civilised people and the dispossessed were savages.
Jun 2, 2020, 18:38 PM

Nuremberg Calling?

Shane Darcy
William Joyce, ‘Lord Haw-Haw’, was tried in connection with his propaganda broadcasts from Nazi Germany. Treason was the charge since he was a British subject, having obtained a passport by deception. Had he been tried at Nuremberg with other Nazis he might not have hanged.
Jun 2, 2020, 12:33 PM

For the Cause

John Mulqueen
In the mid-1930s, 40,000 men enlisted in the International Brigades to fight fascism in Spain. Many died, while the recollections of some who returned, like those published in a moving memoir from the mid-1970s, do not cast much credit on the organisers of the resistance.
Apr 30, 2020, 18:34 PM

Torturing for Democracy

Farrel Corcoran
Kurt Blome was a minister of Hitler’s Reich, directed its biological warfare programme and oversaw experiments on prisoners. He was not one of the seven Nazi scientists sentenced to death at Nuremberg; instead he was enabled to continue his research for the benefit of US military intelligence.
Mar 2, 2020, 16:56 PM

Scholarship, snobbery, skulduggery

Jim Smyth
Sir John Harold Plumb was a prodigious historian and journalist. a tireless networker, a professor, master of Christ’s College, a member of the British Wine Standards Board. He collected porcelain, paintings, wine, acolytes, enemies, dowager duchesses and other people’s wives.
Jan 30, 2020, 12:51 PM

Owning Up

David Donoghue
After initial attempts to simply forget the past and focus on economic reconstruction, Germany’s record of coming to terms with Nazi-era crimes has been impressive. The same, regrettably, cannot be said of the US with regard to the history of slavery and racism in the American South.
Jan 30, 2020, 12:31 PM

A European Destiny

Michael Foley
A massive and erudite history of southeastern Europe from late antiquity to the present demonstrates that the region is properly part of the continent’s history and culture rather than a transitional place between ‘Western’ order and civilisation and the chaos of the Orient.
Jan 30, 2020, 09:34 AM

Tarantulas and Dynamite

Sean Sheehan
Nietzsche’s reputation was tarnished for a long time by his posthumous adoption by Hitler. In fact the philosopher was repelled by antisemitism. It is now clear that his writings were curated after his death by his sister Elisabeth to make them Nazi-friendly.
Dec 5, 2019, 17:48 PM

People Power

John Swift
Does political democracy have a value in the absence of economic democracy? Should social distinctions be maintained? Ancient Athens largely practised a mixed system, with a modus vivendi between the classes that posed little threat to wealth and kept most public offices for the elite.
Oct 29, 2019, 18:32 PM

History from Hell

Tom Hennigan
The popular cultures of many European societies remain transfixed by the evil of Nazism while looking away from the record of their own ancestors. Yet the rise to global prominence of Portugal, Britain, Spain, France and the Netherlands rested largely on the horrific Caribbean slave trade.
Oct 2, 2019, 13:11 PM

A Beautiful Human Being

Patrick Quigley
When Poland was invaded in September 1939, the painter Jósef Czapski joined the cavalry reserve. Captured by the Russians, he escaped the fate of the officers murdered at Katyń and survived the camps, diverting his fellow prisoners with lectures on Proust reconstructed from his own memory.
Sep 5, 2019, 16:18 PM