Fintan O'Toole We Don't Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Ireland Since 1958


Code 9781784978341
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The #1 Irish Times bestseller
WINNER of the An Post Irish Book Awards

'A clear-eyed, myth-dispelling masterpiece' Marian Keyes
'Sweeping, authoritative and profoundly intelligent' Colm Toibin, Guardian
'With the pace and twists of an enthralling novel' Irish Times
'Evocative, moving, funny and furious' Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times
'An enthralling, panoramic book' Patrick Radden Keefe
'A book that will remain important for a very long time' An Post Irish Book Award

We Don't Know Ourselves is a very personal vision of recent Irish history from the year of O'Toole's birth, 1958, down to the present. Ireland has changed almost out of recognition during those decades, and Fintan O'Toole's life coincides with that arc of transformation. The book is a brilliant interweaving of memories (though this is emphatically not a memoir) and engrossing social and historical narrative. This was the era of Eamon de Valera, Jack Lynch, Charles Haughey and John Charles McQuaid, of sectarian civil war in the North and the Pope's triumphant visit in 1979, but also of those who began to speak out against the ruling consensus - feminists, advocates for the rights of children, gay men and women coming out of the shadows. We Don't Know Ourselves is an essential book for anyone who wishes to understand modern Ireland.

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'Scintillating... Combines personal with political on a journey to the heart of Irish identity'
- Business Post

'A remarkably original, fluent and absorbing book, with the pace and twists of an enthralling novel and the edge of a fine sword, underpinned by a profound humaneness'
- Diarmaid Ferriter, Irish Times

'Our leading public intellectual has written the bible on incorrigible Irish roguery'
- Irish Independent

'Fintan is now routinely described as 'Ireland's leading public intellectual'... If we must have a hegemony, the best by a long way is the liberal kind. And to know how it happened here, this is the bible'
- Sunday Independent

'At heart, it's an investigation of the arrival of modernity in Ireland and just how much upheaval it caused'
- Herald

'Ireland's past is here painted by Fintan O'Toole mainly through villains, victims, eccentrics and scandals'
- BBC History Magazine

'An enthralling, panoramic book, a personal history of six decades of Irish life, from one of the foremost chroniclers of contemporary Ireland. With his customary deep erudition and sly wit, O'Toole weaves together an astonishing array of material... Jostling with anecdotes and arresting statistics, We Don't Know Ourselves is a feast: a deeply absorbing chronicle of the 'known and unknowable' and of the profound transformation of a place'
- Patrick Radden Keefe


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