The \taking of Modern Ireland 1603-1923 by J. C. Beckett (Faber Paperback Priced £4.50)
PROFESSOR .I. C. Beckett was horn and educated ir Belfast where he became a lecturer in modern history at Queen's University, and later Professor of Irish History there.
It shows in this history as he is basically a -townie" out of touch with rural Ireland — yet he has written a first class work of reference in a cold academic way; you would not think Belfast was only a hundred miles from Dublin to read the Professor on Collins, De N'alera and the Treaty.
He misses the whole point of the treaty and the "troubles", namely that \lick Collins and company were members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the inner circle of the IRA, and 'De'' was not a member.
It is fatuous to say "But de Valera, now almost completely under the influence of Brugha and Stack preferred to play for time". Dev ran Brugha and Stack, and everyone else. they did not run him.
The professor does a splendid job of whitewashing Cromwell. who is made to look as well meaning and earnest as Major Chichester Clark, and the transplantation to Connaught reads like a well ordered, well directed SS peace time manoeuvre.
-The countr", we are told "still swarmed with beggars, thousands of whom were transported to the West Indies. but the economic recosery that marked the Restoration period had its beginnings in the I650's".
Like so many modern Irish historians. Professor Beckett dismisses in a single line the appalling crime of shipping off men, women and children to the West Indies, to the most awful slavery.
No modern historian, the Professor included, ever seems to give a second thought to the transportation of the mere Irish to the West Indies. Surely such a despatch merits more than a mere line?
As a reference book, with an excellent select Bibliography. this is a valuable hook. but its scholarly presentation lacks the human touch, and the Making of Modern Ireland is a very cold fish on a Orange slab. Expert it is. Humane it is not, nevertheless, at the price, it is well worth adding to your Irish history shelf.
Terence J. Sheehy A journey towards God How God hecame Real hy Emile Griffin (Sheldon Press £4.95
THIS BOOK is "An experience of Conversion". It is unlike other conversion accounts in that it not only describes the steps that lead up to conversion but also brings out the part that conversion plays in the spiritual life.
It is both a psycological and biographical account. Emilie Griffin reports also on the various influences she encountered on her journey towards the real God. These were in the persons of C. S. Lewis. Thomas Merton. Dorothy Day, Bede Griffiths and Avery Dulles.
She relates their experiences of conversion contrasting them with her own. .11 he names of the chapters in the book indicate her steps forward — Turning, Desire. Argument, Struggle. Surrender.