I have just finished reading De Valera: The Man & The Myths by T. Ryle Dwyer. I’ve read a few Irish history books since moving here, but I still have trouble sorting out who’s who, who was on which side with whom in what, and any one person’s position on an issue – privately, publicly, at the time, and after “mature recollection” but with each book I come closer to wearing a groove in my brain such that I can remember some of these details.
While it’s almost true that everything I know about Irish history I learned from Tim Pat Coogan, I did learn a few things from this book. I certainly picked up more about the relationship, or lack of it, between de Valera and David Gray, U.S. Minister to Ireland, 1940-47, and the book reinforced my opinion of Winston Churchill. However, after reading books by TPC, I was surprised that this book made no mention of how de Valera arrived at the money to found the Irish Press. Also, I don’t know that the author, a historian, is sufficiently qualified to repeatedly assert how the psychology of de Valera’s relationship with his mother affected de Valera’s actions.
In summary, a useful book to have read. I consider that recent Irish history is too complex and multi-faceted for anyone to trust their own opinions after reading only one author on the subject, so this book is doubly useful to me for providing a second (or fifth or so) perspective on events.