This book is clearly an important contribution to the understanding of recent Irish history, but is controversial. It was published last year, but is being discussed at the moment as it (along with "The Lost Revolution") was the subject of a public meeting and debate last night in Dublin.
The book has been reviewed by Anthony Coughlan, whose own role is discussed in the book, on Indymedia.
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/99779This is an important book on Irish republican and leftwing politics in the 1960s, on the background to the destruction of Ulster Unionist political hegemony by the Northern civil rights movement of that decade, and the formation of the Provisional IRA.
Dr Treacy gives us much new information on a relatively neglected period. His book will be a significant source for those seeking to understand the explosion caused by the Partition of Ireland half a century after David Lloyd George’s Government of Ireland Act sundered Ireland into two parts in 1920.
Unfortunately it will not be the definitive work on its subject. This is because Dr Treacy seems somewhat divided over what one might call “the conspiracy thesis” which has been subscribed to by sundry previous writers on this topic. This is that there was an attempt at some form of communist takeover-bid of the 1960s Republican Movement which contributed significantly to the 1970 split which gave rise to the Provisional IRA.
Anthony Coughlan surprises me by saying that the Communist Party in Britain and Ireland did not want the Irish Republican movement to move to socialism. While it seems to me that there will inevitably be right wing nationalists as well as left wing ones, that it was worth contesting the political ground to win the movement as far as possible as far to the left as could be achieved, and to win new members from the movement.
But I will have to read the book, as well as Anthony Coughlan's interesting review, to get a fuller understanding of what happened, and why.
Coughlan's review includes and invaluable account from his personal perspective and knowledge of the political and organisational splits within Irish Republicanism of the 1970s, that have had enduring, deep political consequences and have shaped the Irish politics of today.The fact of the matter is that there was no such conspiracy or attempted takeover-bid of Republicanism by people in the communist movement. The persons mentioned did not act in unison. As independent individuals acting on their own behalf they welcomed the moves by the IRA and Sinn Fein leadership to “go political” and move away from militarism in the 1960s, as people all over Ireland did at the time, but they had no desire whatever to see the Republican Movement take up “socialism” or Marxism. In so far as they shared a common view of the Republican Movement they wanted the IRA and Sinn Fein to stick to Republicanism, but a political Republicanism, and to stick to civil rights in Northern Ireland when the campaign for these developed there post-1967