Wednesday, January 07, 2015

More Irish history and why you should read it

Here's some more of what I've learned about Ireland's history, this time mostly from Ronan Fanning's Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922:
1) German arms shipments to Ireland date back at least to April 1914—to the Ulster Volunteer Force; unionists, not nationalists.

2)
A much smaller German arms purchase by Irish nationalists, co-led by Erskine Childers a month later for maximum publicity, resulted in a bloody a crackdown by a British regiment.

3)
Yes, that Erskine Childers, author of the early spy novel The Riddle of the Sands.

4)
The Irish tradition of secret societies and volunteer groups long predates the alphabet soup of organizations that became familiar during the sectarian Troubles that began in 1969.

5)
That "The IRA’s initial focus in what is known either as the ‘War of Independence’ or the ‘Anglo-Irish War’ of 1919–21 was the ostracisation of the police."
What does this have to do with contemporary crime fiction set in the present, or a lot closer to it than 1910 to 1922? Not much, unless one is reading Stuart Neville or Adrian McKinty or Eoin McNamee or Garbhan Downey, or Kevin McCarthy, or Anthony Quinn, or Andrew Pepper, or ...

© Peter Rozovsky 2014

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4 Comments:

Blogger Dana King said...

Thanks for this series. I read a pretty good book a couple of years ago for an overview of Irish history, and intended to get into some more recent detail. Your series here has piqued my interest, and I'm taking notes.

January 08, 2015  
Blogger R.T. said...

Indeed, the best fiction (crime fiction) included allows readers to experience vicariously contexts that the readers would otherwise never experience in any way. And understanding the contexts -- through reading about history -- is often indispensable to appreciation of fiction. Yes, New Critic dinosaurs would say I'm full of ***t, but they would be wrong -- at least on the issue of contexts and history (although the accusations might be valid given some of my other POVs regarding literature).

January 08, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dana, what was the title of the took you read? In addition to the reading, you should visit the country.

January 08, 2015  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

R.T., if those old New Critics would say such a thing, then **** 'em is all the reply they deserve. I don't know if reading history is dispensable to appreciation of Irish crime fiction. I would say appreciation of one reinforces that of the other.

January 08, 2015  

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