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Éamon de Valera was the single most consequential Irish figure of the twentieth century. He was a leader in the Easter Rising, the figurehead of the anti-Treaty rebels during the dark days of the Civil War and, later, as the founder of Fianna Fáil and president of Ireland, the pivotal figure in the birth of the Republic.
In this, the first volume of a magisterial new biography, acclaimed historian and broadcaster David McCullagh charts De Valera’s vertiginous rise from humble beginnings to electoral victory with Fianna Fáil in 1932. Riveting, nuanced, provocative and humorous, it draws on a wealth of new and neglected sources to present a truly ground-breaking portrait of de Valera the man, his times and his complex, ever-shifting legacy.
‘David McCullagh combines the investigative skills of an experienced journalist with the detachment of an accomplished historian. In this vividly readable and at times gripping biography he tackles head-on all of the perennial de Valera controversies, including his parentage, his role in the 1916 Rising, his relationship with Michael Collins, his responsibility for the Civil War and his subsequent rise to power, and does so with acuity and objectivity. McCullagh’s range and command of the source material is masterly … a comprehensive, mature biography, both enlightening and entertaining.’ MAURICE MANNING
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