Category: Books

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)…

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…

The great St Vincent: his vision and his mission continue

Vincent de Paul: The Lazarist Mission and French Catholic Reform by Alison Forrestal (Oxford University Press, £70) Clear Vision: the life and legacy of Noel Clear, Social Justice Champion, 1937-2003 by Gerry Jeffers (Veritas, €16.99) Daire
 Keogh   Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) is synonymous with charity and virtue, but, in Ireland his popular acclaim rests largely on the…

The men who were up for the match

The GAA Immortals: 100 Gaelic Games Legends by John Scally (Black & White Publishing, €21.00) This is a compilation of biographical sketches of footballers, hurlers and team-managers who were household names in the GAA world during the last 100 years. The list of 55 footballers begins with Dick Fitzgerald. He won five All-Ireland championships for Kerry…