In this book Alan Ward uses the pivotal event in twentieth-century Irish history as a prism through which to survey Irish history from the twelfth century to the present. By asking why the Easter Rising occurred, Ward is able to review the history of Anglo Irish relations, from the time of Norman settlement to World War I, as well as the development of several kinds of Irish nationalism in the nineteenth century. Then, by asking what the effects of the Rising have been, Ward discusses the Irish war of independence, the creation of the Irish Free State, and the Irish civil war, pondering the influence of the various strands of Irish nationalism on the modern state. The book then reviews the conflict in Northern Ireland from the 1960s all the way to the fall of 2002.
The Easter Rising -- England and Ireland before the union of 1801 -- Ireland and Irish nationalism after the union -- Constitutional nationalism -- Romantic and revolutionary nationalism -- America and the Irish problem -- Three home rule bill and the rise of unionism -- The constitutional crisis of 1912-1914 : preparing for rebellion -- World War I : Britain's weakness and Ireland's opportunity -- Sinn Fein emerges -- A victory for revolutionary nationalism -- The effects of the rising
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