Category: Reviews

Angels of hope in a broken world

Ships of Mercy: The remarkable fleet bringing hope to the world’s poorest people by Don Stephens (Hodder & Stoughton, €9.99) The United States is the wealthiest country in the world.  Among its citizens are some of the most charitable and generous persons to be found anywhere.  This is clear from this memoir by Don Stephens [pictured],…

What really makes us succeed

Win: Proven Strategies for Success in Sport, Life,  and Mental Health by Brent Pope and Jason Brennan (Hachette Ireland, €16) Peter 
Hegarty   ‘What’s wrong friend?’ said the Samaritans volunteer at the other end of the line. Brent Pope poured out his sadness, describing how low, helpless and lonely he had been feeling. Since his childhood he…

Redmond and Carson: a study in failure

Judging Redmond and Carson: comparative Irish lives by Alvin Jackson (Royal Irish Academy, €30) Felix
 M.
 Larkin   This dual biography by one of Ireland’s most distinguished historians, Professor Alvin Jackson of Edinburgh University, is premised on the notion that – to quote its author – “the parallel lives of great rivals or great antagonists (or great friends)…

Medicine for a miserable world

At this stage it probably goes without saying that Gaudate et Exsultate, the Pope’s new exhortation on holiness in ordinary life, was always going to be dismissed by some as like the proverbial curate’s egg: good in parts. Writing at catholicworldreport.com, for instance, in a piece headed ‘Pope Francis “takes aim” in Gaudete et Exsultate…

Life matches drama a little too closely

The sense of dread that came over me when Donald Trump was elected President of the USA was heightened considerably last week. There were silly tweets from him about launching missiles “nice, new and smart”, after the reported gas attacks near Damascus. In a sleepless moment last Friday night, on an extended Newsroom programme (BBC…

Half a century of Waterford politics

The Redmonds and Waterford: A Political Dynasty, 1891 – 1952 by Pat McCarthy  (Four Courts Press 2018, €29.95 pb)   John Redmond inaugurated the Redmond political dynasty when he was returned to the House of Commons for New Ross in December 1881. It would remain in place until 1952. A native of Wexford, he was…

How teenagers become human

Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore (Penguin Ireland, €16) Peter
 Hegarty   In a congenial, fascinating book neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blackmore explores the wondrous malleability of the human brain. The brain is continually changing and adapting. If I took up juggling, the part of my brain that co-ordinates the movement of my…

Churchill, the British leader and the Irish problem

Churchill & Ireland by Paul Bew (Oxford: Oxford University Press) £9.99pb Ian
 d’Alton   One of the problems that an historian faces is the asymmetric. In the case of Britain and Ireland, that is particularly acute. The Irish see Britain through the telescope the right way round. It looms large in our consciousness. Most Britons, though, look…