February 10, 2003

My current reading

Reading: De Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow Ok so this is the book I'm currently reading in my spare time (ha ha) - actually I find I have to read for about 10 minutes beofe trying to go to sleep or I have the days events going round my head in my dreams (and that can be nasty!).

Actually the book is not that great. However the biography of Michael Colins by the same author is meant to be excellent so perhaps I'll get that next. De Valera is seen as a founding father of the Irish state. That's not an unfair view, but in my opinion he showed far more self-interest than some of the other figures of the time.

Collins has often come under harsh citicsm for his ruthless behaviour, violence and womanizing, but he is no more flawed than any other men. Collins wasn't popular in Ireland after his death because he was seen as the traitor who had signed the treaty with the British that agreed to partition and subsequently led to civil war. However De Valera is supposed to have famously said 'in the fullness of time, history will record the greatness of Collins, and it will be recorded at my expense'. Whatever the case Collins stock has isen in recent years and it is generally concluded that Collins was in his own way a hero for Ireland. It is arguable that it was his actions which allowed the Irish Free State to exist at all.

De Valera gets an interesting treatment in this book, perhaps it is a little harsh, but I think not. De Valera's behaviour as an Irish Nationalist should no be doubted, but as a man he perhaps was not as great as his supporters like to claim. In comparing him to Collins one might consider that De Valera lived more than 50 years after the death of Collins. One might wonder what Collins would have achieved in that time.

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