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The Easter Rising of 1916 not only destroyed much of the center of Dublin -- it changed the course of Irish history. But why did it happen? What was the role of ordinary people in this extraordinary event? What motivated them and what were their aims? These basic questions continue to divide historians of modern Ireland.
The Rising is the story of Easter 1916 from the perspective of those who sparked and sustained the uprising, focusing on the experiences of rank-and-file revolutionaries. Fearghal McGarry makes use of a unique source that has only recently seen the light of day -- a collection of over 1,700 eye-witness statements detailing the political activities of members of Sinn Fein and militant groups such as the Irish Republican Brotherhood. This collection represents one of the richest and most comprehensive oral history archives devoted to any modern revolution, providing new insights on almost every aspect of this seminal period.
The Rising shows how people from ordinary backgrounds became politicized and involved in the struggle for Irish independence. McGarry illuminates their motives, concerns, and aspirations, highlighting the importance of the Great War as a catalyst for the uprising. He concludes by exploring the Rising's revolutionary aftermath, which in time saw the creation of the independent state we see today.
Published to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising, this edition includes a new preface which reflects on the continuing importance of the Easter Rising as a symbol of Irish nationhood and which looks at the centenary commemorations in both Ireland and the UK within the wider context of the "Decade of Centenaries."
Fearghal McGarry is Senior Lecturer in History at Queen's University, Belfast. He is the author of a number of books on Irish history in the twentieth century, including Irish Politics and the Spanish Civil War (1999), and most recently Eoin O'Duffy: A Self-Made Hero (2005), which is also published by Oxford University Press. More recently, he has edited Rebels (2011), a collection of first-hand testimony by revolutionary veterans. He is currently working on a project exploring the links between Dublin's Abbey Theater and the Easter Rising.