A Nation and not a Rabble

The current item on my bookshelf is a bit of Irish History. I’m almost finished reading ‘A Nation and not a Rabble – The Irish Revolution 1913 – 1923’ by Diarmaid Ferriter. Professor Ferriter’s tale is a well-balanced and detailed account of the Irish Revolution and of the myths and history that followed it. The title of the book comes from a report to the new provisional government of the Irish Free State by its foreign affairs minister in 1922. Is Ireland a nation, or is it a rabble?

Much of the book is dedicated to shedding light on falsehoods, myths, and biases in previous accounts of this period of Irish turmoil. Ferriter covers complex topics that include the roles of women, Catholics, social classes, World War I, Sinn Fein, labor, education, poverty, socialism and communism in Ireland’s struggle for independent nationhood.

I highly recommend this book, but only if you already have a basic knowledge and awareness of Irish History in the period from 1913 to 1923. This book, in my opinion, assumes that you already have some awareness of the subject matter and it is not intended to serve as your introduction to the topic.

If you’re not already somewhat familiar with terms like The Rising, Home Rule, Ulster, and Sinn Fein then this book will probably be a difficult read. If you have never dabbled in Irish History before, I recommend that you begin with a much broader and more general book on Irish History and then come to this book as your second or third book on the subject.