This is a comprehensive and scholarly study of socialist republicanism in independent Ireland between the wars. The 1934 Republican Congress movement exemplified the socialist republican stance, holding that `a Republic of a united Ireland will never be achieved except through a struggle which uproots capitalism on its way'. In this carefully argued study, Richard English demonstrates that the contradictory analysis which
characterized the republican left during these years explains its political failure. He explores the mentality which typified republicans during the formative years of independent Ireland, and shows how their solipsistic
zealotry was simultaneously self-sustaining and self-defeating. Dr English examines the complex relationship between economics and nationalism in the Irish Free State and the way in which this relationship determined the policies and success of the dominant Fianna Fail party. Radicals and the Republic is an important book which unravels the politics of a significant Irish republican cult and illuminates our reading of the history of independent Ireland.
`definitive study of socialist republicanism...fine piece of research...English reveals a fine range of skills - bibliographic analysis, textual exegesis and historical contexting.'
Irish Political Studies
`He has written a thoroughly researched and lucidly argued history of a significant episode in Irish political history. It is to his credit that he succeeds in sparking off other argumented and polemics as a result.'
`English's use of primary sources, private papers, and personal interviews...is full and complete. The lucid style, the highly accessible argument, and the scholarship of the work mark English as one of the most exciting political historians currently at work.'
Irish Studies Review
`Richard English's book definitely has something to say which is both original and useful in a wider understanding of the social and political forces at work in these years.'
`its power and clarity may close the door to everything except an emotional defence. Dr. English's command of the subject and his rigorous scrutiny of the evidence creates an impressively persuasive argument...an outstanding achievement...a very fine study.'
Irish Literary Supplement
`English does a good job of showing how and why the left failed in Ireland during the postwar period. The book is based on an impressive range of archival and other material, including a large number of interviews with contemporaries. Contains a lengthy and up-to-date bibliography.'
`It provides a great quantity of carefully documented material on a highly specialized topic.'
`Richard English's book, based on his doctoral thesis, is valuable for the sheer fact that it fills a void in our knowledge, being the first serious academic study of the I.R.A. and republicanism in the late 1920s and 1930s. This is an extremely well-researched work, using a wide range of organisational and private papers ... the wealth of material presented in this book makes it necessary reading matter for all students of republican politics in this
Joost Augusteijn, Queen's University, Belfast,
`Dr English is ... careful to lighten this impressive text with some sense of the humanity and charm of some of those he has interviewed.'
Paul Bew, Queen's University, Belfast, Labour History Review, Vol.61, No. 1, Spring 1996