Fergal Tobin The Irish Difference: The Story of Ireland's 400-Year Journey to Independence


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Code 9781838952631
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An Irish TImes Book of the Year

'The beauty of this book is in the telling: The Irish Difference lays out its themes and chronologies with impeccable clarity, and is full of fascinating detail... Exemplary.' Irish Independent

For hundreds of years, the islands and their constituent tribes that make up the British Isles have lived next door to each other in a manner that, over time, suggested some movement towards political union. It was an uneven, stop-start business and it worked better in some places than in others. Still, England, Wales and Scotland have hung together through thick and thin, despite internal divisions of language, religion, law, culture and disposition that might have broken up a less resilient polity. And, for a long time, it seemed that something similar might have been said about the smaller island to the west: Ireland.

Ireland was always a more awkward fit in the London-centric mini-imperium but no one imagined that it might detach itself altogether, until the moment came for rupture, quite suddenly and dramatically, in the fall-out from World War I. So, what was it - is it - about Ireland that is so different? Different enough to sever historical ties of centuries with such sudden violence and unapologetic efficiency. Wherein lies the Irish difference, a difference sufficient to have caused a rupture of that nature?

In a wide-ranging and witty narrative, historian Fergal Tobin looks into Ireland's past, taking in everything from religion and politics to sports and literature, and traces the roots of her journey towards independence.

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'[Tobin's] a beautiful writer, with a graceful prose style, and he takes a contemplative and nuanced approach to an incredibly tangled story... The beauty of this book is in the telling: The Irish Difference lays out its themes and chronologies with impeccable clarity, and is full of fascinating detail... Exemplary.
- Irish Independent

'Witty, thought-provoking, wide-ranging and highly readable.'
- Irish Times

'The Irish Difference marshals its arguments with a light touch and many witty asides, making for a consistently lively read.'
- Sunday Business Post

'A witty and entertaining gallop over Irish history.'
- The Irish Catholic

'You may not agree with everything Fergal Tobin says; you may not even agree with any of it. But the book is so entertaining, so well-written, and so thought-provoking that you are certainly likely to enjoy it.'
- RTE Online

'This elegantly written history delineates how Ireland never acquiesced to English rule in the way other countries did.... Many drolleries help the tangled history go down smoothly.'
- Irish Times


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