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Michael Collins : a life

Author: James A Mackay
Publisher: Edinburgh ; London : Mainstream Pub. ; N. Pomfret, VT : Distributed by Trafalgar Square, 1996.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
The most charismatic figure to emerge during the struggles for the independence of Ireland was undoubtedly Michael Collins. This remarkable new biography, which draws on much hitherto unpublished material, charts the dramatic rise of the country boy who became head of the Free State and commander-in-chief of the army. Born of peasant stock in the rural south-west of Ireland in 1890, Collins joined the Volunteers in
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Genre/Form: Biography
History
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Mackay, James A. (James Alexander), 1936-
Michael Collins.
Edinburgh ; London : Mainstream Pub. ; N. Pomfret, VT : Distributed by Trafalgar Square, 1996
(OCoLC)605245881
Named Person: Michael Collins; Michael Collins
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: James A Mackay
ISBN: 1851588574 9781851588572
OCLC Number: 35792870
Description: 320 pages, [24] pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm
Responsibility: James Mackay.

Abstract:

The most charismatic figure to emerge during the struggles for the independence of Ireland was undoubtedly Michael Collins. This remarkable new biography, which draws on much hitherto unpublished material, charts the dramatic rise of the country boy who became head of the Free State and commander-in-chief of the army. Born of peasant stock in the rural south-west of Ireland in 1890, Collins joined the Volunteers in 1916 and fought in the Easter Rising. On his release from detention, he was elected Sinn Fein member for County Cork in the General Election of 1918. The 73 Sinn Fein MPs refused to take their seats at Westminster, instead forming Dail Eireann and declaring for a republic. During the Troubles, when de Valera was in America and other leaders were in prison, Collins, in his dual role of Minister of Finance and Director of Intelligence, effectively ran the Republican government.

Collins had a crucial role in working out the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921, but on the outbreak of the savage civil war of 1922-23 he conducted the campaign against the anti-Treaty rebels with flair and ruthless energy. When Griffith died suddenly on 12 August 1922, Collins became head of state as well as commander-in-chief of the army. Ten days later, while on a tour of inspection in his home county, General Collins was ambushed by the IRA and fatally shot. He was only 31 years old.

No man since Parnell has so captured the imagination of Ireland, and his death was deeply mourned on both sides of the Irish Sea. Had Collins lived, the subsequent course of Anglo-Irish relations would have been very different. Though this is one of the great might-have-beens of history, there are vital lessons to be learned from the life and times of this strong, enigmatic, controversial but above all charismatic figure that have an important bearing on the solution of the present Irish dilemma.

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