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The Politics of Illusion Henry Patterson

The Politics of Illusion


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          This acclaimed book remains the only comprehensive study of the IRA and Sinn Fein's attempts to create a 'social republicanism', a marriage between militant nationalism and the politics of the left. From agitation amongst the peasantry in the 1920s and collaboration with the Nazis during the Second World War to the evolution of the peace process in the 21st century, Henry Patterson analyses the various attempts to marry these two fundamentally incompatible ideologies.

          Friend and foe have described the IRA as 'socialists', 'Marxists', 'fascists' or simply as militaristic and murderous thugs. In this highly praised work the author steers us through the inevitably secretive history of both the Provisional and the Official IRA, Sinn Fein and their various front organisations, teasing out the real politics behind the labels.

          The e-book edition takes the history of Irish republicanism through to Sinn Fein's participation in Northern Ireland's power-sharing government and its electoral successes in the Republic of Ireland, and Henry Patterson concludes that, even though the IRA is no longer attempting to bomb Ulster Protestants into submission, nationalism and the politics of the left make uneasy and, when the rhetoric is cleared away, illusory bed-fellows.

          'Of immense value'
          Michael D. Higgins, The Irish Times

          'Subtle and authoritative'
          Fintan O'Toole, New York Review of Books

          > more reviews

          'Good, even-handed history'
          Guardian

          'The definitive history of the IRA'
          BBC Radio 4

          'An extremely timely book that will be an eye-opener for those who believe they understand Ireland and its problems'
          Library Journal

          > book description

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