Cover: Éamon de Valera: A Will to Power, from Harvard University PressCover: Éamon de Valera in HARDCOVER

Éamon de Valera

A Will to Power

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Product Details


$29.95 • £23.95 • €27.00

ISBN 9780674660380

Publication Date: 04/25/2016


320 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

20 halftones

Not for sale in UK, British Commonwealth & Europe (except Canada)

De Valera (1882–1975) is the subject of many biographies, including several authorized productions that he carefully supervised. But Eamon de Valera: A Will to Power, by Ronan Fanning, stands out… An astute, nuanced and highly readable life that manages to be both sharply critical and expansive in its judgments. In this era of doorstop biographies, Fanning deserves extra praise for accomplishing all this in a trim 300 pages.—Michael O’Donnell, The Wall Street Journal

[A] sharp new biography of de Valera.—Fintan O’Toole, The New York Review of Books

The extraordinary story of de Valera’s emergence from a laborer’s cottage in Co. Limerick and ultimate arrival at the forefront of Irish political life is well told in [this] sterling new biography by Ronan Fanning… You can’t argue with…the authority and conciseness of Ronan Fanning’s account.—Patricia Craig, The Times Literary Supplement

[A] compact but searching biography… Fanning is no simplistic apologist for his subject, but nor is he hostile toward him. This approach is more than usually valuable, for de Valera was a polarizing and controversial figure, and so a balanced assessment is especially welcome in assessing his decades-long political dominance… There are many surprises along the way, even for those readers well-informed on Irish history and politics… This biography makes a strong and ultimately convincing case for de Valera as the indispensable founding father of the sovereign Irish Republic we know today.—Martin Rubin, The Washington Times

Reading these pages, it is hard to imagine any other Irish figure of the time having the subtlety and stature to face down Winston Churchill during the Second World War… Fanning’s marvelous book is more a political portrait than a conventional biography. It is sympathetic but not hagiographic.—Vincent Boland, Financial Times

The beauty of this admirable, succinct biography of Dev by one of Ireland’s foremost historians is that he acknowledges all [the] charges [against De Valera], accepts the validity of some of them, and still presents us with a sympathetic account of the man… A rounded and brave take on this lanky, divisive, extraordinary figure: this biography is a feat.—Melanie McDonagh, The Independent [UK]

Unlike some of the earlier biographies of Éamon de Valera, Ronan Fanning seeks neither to deify nor demonise his subject. Instead he provides a lively account recognising his subject’s accomplishments and failures… This well-written and balanced biography is a lively and judicious account of the Long Fellow’s career.—Ryle Dwyer, The Irish Examiner

Dev, as befits one of our greatest statesmen, has been the subject of many books—some good, some less good, some bordering on hagiography, some seething with enmity. Fanning is not one for hasty judgments. His literary skills and his unerring grasp of the realities of politics make this one a convincing narrative and a joy to read.—James Downey, The Irish Independent

[A] measured and balanced biography.—John L. Murphy, PopMatters

The best biography yet of the Irish statesman, is a succinct, judicious treatment of the basic facts of his life, his ideas, the controversies he generated, and his place not just in Irish but also world history.—D. M. Cregier, Choice

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