"The drb sustains a level of commentary on Irish and international matters that no other journal in Ireland and few elsewhere can reach. It deserves all the support that can be given it." X
Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

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
Nov 3, 2014, 08:34 AM

Norsemen, Normans, Wicklowmen

David Dickson
The latest volume of studies from the Friends of Medieval Dublin benefits greatly from the efforts of many young scholars, more adept at moving across disciplinary boundaries and methodologies than were some of the heroes of the first generation who fought for Wood Quay.
Nov 3, 2014, 07:58 AM

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.
Sep 1, 2014, 08:24 AM

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.
Aug 31, 2014, 17:23 PM

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.
Jun 15, 2014, 19:13 PM


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.
Jun 15, 2014, 17:55 PM

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.
Jun 2, 2014, 16:34 PM

The Hard Life

Eva McGuire
Neandertals were expert toolmakers, had big brains and lived in small communities which hunted large, dangerous beasts. A Neandertal, man, woman or child, was likely to sustain huge numbers of injuries in the course of a short life, yet there is reason to believe the community cared for its incapacitated members.
Apr 22, 2014, 08:37 AM

How Scientific Inquiry Works

Seamus O’Mahony
Postmodern critics of science have sometimes argued that it is a ‘narrative’ like any other and cannot be privileged over other narratives, for example alternative medicine. A new book, written with careful, nuanced scholarship, reasserts the value of the scientist’s calling, of rigour in research and of the importance of evidence.
Apr 22, 2014, 08:07 AM

Fiat Justitia

Kevin Cross
There are opposing views on what judges do, the realist school maintaining that they can be legislators, not bound by convention and precedent but making law based on their idea of utility, while the formalist school urges them to make wise, limited decisions which will serve justice and fairness and preserve the rule of law.
Apr 22, 2014, 07:51 AM

The day the ATM broke

Sean Byrne
The most dispiriting aspect of our economic crisis five years on has been the absence of the political courage needed to implement the radical political, economic and administrative reforms that would make Ireland competitive in the way that other small open European economies are competitive.
Oct 7, 2013, 13:21 PM

Getting an Edge

Frank Allen
Imagination, determination and an ability to exploit the commercial attractiveness to the consumer of the authentic and traditional have enabled many successful businesses to be created and sustained in peripheral locations in Ireland. Perhaps there is more than one viable model for industrial development.
Oct 6, 2013, 21:50 PM

Licking Death

Seamus O’Mahony
Cancer is a serious business, and also big business, particularly in the US. But ‘declaring war’ on it is like declaring war on death. Our own Irish Cancer Society has launched a ‘strategy statement’ that envisages a ‘future without cancer’, but it modestly concedes that ‘this may not be achieved in the lifetime of this strategy statement’.
Sep 22, 2013, 16:51 PM

Doesn’t Add Up

Shane Whelan
Modern states are awash with statistics. So it doesn’t take too long, for example, to work out that inequalities of wealth are at their greatest since the late nineteenth century.
Sep 22, 2013, 15:49 PM

Getting to Grey

Liam Hennessy
Bipolar disorder has been explained as an attempt to create a world in which everything is either black or white. The illness can only be treated, it is suggested, when the important third element is introduced.
Jul 15, 2013, 11:06 AM

The Gentleman Naturalist

David Askew
Charles Darwin’s theories of natural selection and evolution have weathered well and he cannot be held responsible for those who have developed a repugnant politics on the back of a vulgarisation of them.
Jun 4, 2013, 08:43 AM

Clash of the Titans

Thomas Boylan
The pragmatism associated with JM Keynes derives from a sustained optimism in the capacity of intelligence to inform and influence correct responses to a crisis. Hayek’s market morality reflects an altogether more pessimistic view of human behaviour.
Dec 17, 2012, 14:34 PM


John Bradley
A fixation on short term gain led to our economic collapse. Now it's time to focus on the real economy, where the fundamentals are still sound.
Oct 23, 2012, 20:14 PM

Angel of the North

Éamon Ó Cléirigh
In the 1970s, the young Christopher Robbins was admitted into the world of octogenarian film producer Brian Desmond Hurst, an unusual place, made up of eccentric neighbours, theatre folk, young men of religious convictions, aristocrats, policemen, blackmailers, sly procurers, feral rent boys and assorted waifs and strays.
Jan 13, 2007, 18:47 PM