Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Anglo-Irish Treaty 1921 eBook

I recently had a hand in creating the 'Anglo-Irish Treaty 1921' ebook, a collection of correspondence by the participants in the Treaty negotiations that ultimately led to Ireland's civil war.  Reading it I was bowled over by the size of the task the negotiators had (the British threw everything at them), the personalities involved and the tragedy of the whole enterprise.  The characters who really jump off the page for me are Griffith, Childers and Lloyd George.
It is clear Lloyd George and Griffith have tremendous respect for each other, but it's also clear that that is something that might compromise negotiations.  Griffith was certainly aware of this danger, but whether it ultimately did have this effect is difficult to say.  Lloyd George had a difficult game to play with his compatriots one way or the other.
Erskine Childers constantly amazes me.  His detailed memos on defence treaties and the ramifications of failing to properly provide for Ireland's security are detailed to the point of mesmerism.  How he could bring all of this together given the limited communications at his disposal is a miracle.  His keen acumen is clear and his vision of the future far-sighted (understandably though, coming just after the First World War, the only possible superpower he can see threatening the stability of Europe is America).   In contrast, his final account of the cabinet meeting that debated the finished treaty is necessarily ambiguous (they are just blunt jottings) and heart-breaking.
As to De Valera, I don't need to say anything, nor do I want to.  The debates will go on regardless of my own views.  His skills and commitment are clear, but so too are his failings.  As they say, he condemns himself out of his own mouth.
Anyhow don't take my word for it.  You can download the ebook as an epub or mobi file (or even a PDF) for free:



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