Ireland's Holy Wars by Marcus Tanner
The Struggle for a Nation's Soul, 1500-2000

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Synopsis

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 defence 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 religous organisations across the thirty-two counties of Ireland, spoken with priests, pastors and their congregations, and has crossed and re-crossed the lines that for centuries have isolated the faiths of Ireland and their history.
 

About Marcus Tanner

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Marcus Tanner was Balkan correspondent of the London "Independent" from 1988 to 1994, and subsequently the paper's assistant foreign editor.
 
Published March 1, 2002 by Yale University Press. 384 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction

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Tanner's concurrent personal explorations of the real and symbolic Irish landscapes bring an immediacy to this ancient fight.

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It is a miracle that Tanner can make sense of the byzantine convolutions that make up the political-religious matrix, though it requires careful reading and the memory of an elephant: “a Dutch Calvinist prince allied to the Catholic Habsburgs and the Pope, who was claiming the throne in the name ...

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Project MUSE

A more direct reporting of his experience of Ireland might have earned Ireland's Holy Wars a place in the long tradition of travel writing about Ireland that goes back to de Tocqueville and beyond.

| Read Full Review of Ireland's Holy Wars: The Stru...

Project MUSE

A more direct reporting of his experience of Ireland might have earned Ireland's Holy Wars a place in the long tradition of travel writing about Ireland that goes back to de Tocqueville and beyond.

| Read Full Review of Ireland's Holy Wars: The Stru...

The Christian Century

Like Ireland's religious history itself, books about religion in Ireland provoke controversy.

Mar 22 2003 | Read Full Review of Ireland's Holy Wars: The Stru...

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