Ireland's Holy Wars: The Struggle for a Nation's Soul, 1500-2000

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Yale University Press, Jan 1, 2003 - History - 498 pages
For much of the twentieth century, Ireland has been synonymous with conflict, the painful struggle for its national soul part of the regular fabric of life. And because the Irish have emigrated to all parts of the world--while always remaining Irish--"the troubles" have become part of a common heritage, well beyond their own borders.

In most accounts of Irish history, the focus is on the political rivalry between Unionism and Republicanism. But the roots of the Irish conflict are profoundly and inescapably religious. As Marcus Tanner shows in this vivid, warm, and perceptive book, only by understanding the consequences over five centuries of the failed attempt by the English to make Ireland into a Protestant state can the pervasive tribal hatreds of today be seen in context. Tanner traces the creation of a modern Irish national identity through the popular resistance to imposed Protestantism and the common defense of Catholicism by the Gaelic Irish and the Old English of the Pale, who settled in Ireland after its twelfth-century conquest.

The book is based on detailed research into the Irish past and a personal encounter with today's Ireland, from Belfast to Cork. Tanner has walked with the Apprentice Boys of Derry and explored the so-called Bandit Country of South Armagh. He has visited churches and religious organizations across the thirty-two counties of Ireland, spoken with priests, pastors, and their congregations, and crossed and re-crossed the lines that for centuries have isolated the faiths of Ireland and their history.

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Ireland's holy wars: the struggle for a nation's soul, 1500-2000

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Economic disadvantage was considered the root of "The Troubles" until Ireland belatedly enjoyed economic growth in the late 20th century, and still the conflict raged. A foreign editor with the ... Read full review


The Hart of the English Pale
It is Necessary that we Eradicate Them
Myn Auctoritie is Litle Regarded
The Kings Most Godlie Procedings
The Devils Service
Seminaries beyond the Seas
The Scum of Both Nations
Such Dangerous Persons
Flags Flying and Drums Beating
Soutaned Bullies of the Lord
A Tendency towards Defeatism
Most Fruitful of Mothers
Till Boyne Rivers Run Red
I Never Asked for a Pedestal
A Family Quarrel

Furious Demagogues of Rebellion
The Crash of a Great Building
The Agitating Priest

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Page 477 - Dictionary of General Biography; containing Concise Memoirs and Notices of the most Eminent Persons of all Countries, from the Earliest Ages to the Present Time. Edited by WILLIAM LR CATES. 8vo. price 21s.

About the author (2003)

Marcus Tanner was Balkan correspondent of the London "Independent" from 1988 to 1994, and subsequently the paper's assistant foreign editor.

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