Modern Ireland 1600-1972 by Roy Foster

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Richard English FBA MRIA FRSE FRHistS, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation and Engagement, Queen’s University Belfast: “Given the intimacy and the complex interwovenness of Irish and British histories, it is impossible to understand the shape of modern Britain without appreciating the nuances of Ireland’s relationship with England, Britain, and the evolution of Britishness. Roy Foster’s Modern Ireland 1600-1972 was a pioneering, influential, scholarly, and elegant treatment of the shaping of modern Ireland, and its appearance in 1988 made it even more decisively crucial. At a difficult point in Anglo-Irish politics, the book brought to a very wide audience the insights of the latest and most important academic scholarship on Ireland; and it considered Irishness in terms of a layered and inclusive sense of identities which was then less widely accepted than it has subsequently become. As the Northern Irish Troubles began to be transformed into a much more benign peace process, and as relations between the Republic of Ireland the UK continue to be shaped in ways that are significant for both islands, this book heralded a more inclusive and subtle interpretation of how properly to understand Ireland; indirectly, it made it possible to know a fuller reality of British experience too. An essential book for both islands.”

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