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Recent Irish History

Robert Erskine Childers, 1920. The Irish Times

THE REVOLUTION IN IRELAND, 1906-1923. BY W. ALISON PHILLIPS. New York: Longmans, 1923.

THE DRAMA OF SINN FEIN. BY SHAW DESMOND. New York: Scribner's, 1923.

THE IRISH REVOLUTION AND HOW IT CAME ABOUT. BY WILLIAM O'BRIEN. London: Allen & Unwin, 1923.

MICHAEL COLLINS' OWN STORY. TOLD BY HAYDEN TALBOT. London: Hutchinson, 1923.

THE IRISH STATESMAN. EDITED BY GEORGE W. RUSSELL (AE.) Dublin: Vol. 1, No. 1, 15th September, 1923.

WHEN Sir Horace Plunkett remarked that Irish history was for Englishmen to remember and for Irishmen to forget, he overlooked one of the greatest obstacles to that happy consummation, to wit, the absence of any history of Ireland which one could agree to remember or to forget. Volumes on every conceivable aspect of Irish history exist in plenty, but there is not one work which enjoys the credit and confidence which have made a classic of John Richard Green's "History of the English People," of Bryce's "American Commonwealth." No historian, I imagine, ever expects to escape censure; inaccuracies and prejudices will occur in the best regulated histories, and there are always partisans and parties which protest against the presentation or analysis of given circumstances where their interests are involved. But there is an irreducible minimum of objectivity which the historians of other countries achieve to the satisfaction of the majority of their readers at home and abroad.

Not so in Ireland. From the "Annals of the Four Masters" to "Michael Collins' Own Story" every contribution to the history of Ireland is challenged on fundamental questions and on matters of fact that ought to be established beyond dispute. Even British Blue Books and White Papers, compiled in London by bureaucrats of an aloofness wholly admirable, do not evade the destiny of all documents relating to Ireland. Ulster accepted the official report on the Irish Insurrection of 1916 because its bias was naturally in favor of the loyalists. The report of the Financial Relations Commission, an equally authentic official British publication, is rejected there with scorn to this day and ignored by most

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