Great Irish Non-Fiction


Number 3:  The Four Green Fields by George O’Brien.

Selected by: ‘Hans Zeuthof’

First published: 1936.

Available?: Available at most library branches with second-hand copies on eBay and Amazon.

Why? “A beautifully-written, brilliant oversight of the young State, the North and relations with our nearest neighbour.”

Contemporary resonance?: “O’Brien laments the national question going to the fore when the social question needed more urgent tackling.”

Significance: “For this line, among many, O’Brien deserves to be on the shelf: ‘The anti-treaty party has certainly made the Free State safe for the bourgeoisie‘.”

‘Great-Irish Non-Fiction’ is a reading list of 100 books chosen by YOU and highlighted over the coming weeks. If you would like to include a favourite please leave your suggestion below.

Previously: Great Irish Non-Fiction: Number 1

Great Irish Fiction: Number 2

Great Irish-Non Fiction List

Pic via Amazon

19 thoughts on “Great Irish Non-Fiction

  1. Gearóid

    Rumpf and Hepburn’s Nationalism and Socialism in Twentieth-Century Ireland is one of the most important studies on (relatively) modern Irish history published.

      1. Gearóid

        No thesis, more analysis.

        The book is full of maps of Ireland with different themes e.g. arable land vs dairy land; independent farmers and labourer populations between X and Y years; IRA activity during X years; Fianna Fáil votes in Y election; CnaP votes in Z election. There are few assertions made, but many correlations presented.

  2. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

    As a complete aside, I’m reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s ‘Here I Am’. I’m really enjoying it. I’ve always been a fan of Philip Roth and although Safran Foer is softer (I can’t think of another word for it) I find his books sometimes to be as entertaining and well-written as Roth’s. Roth is still King, though.

    1. Brother Barnabas

      yeah thanks for that, sweetie

      is there a particular part of IRISH NON FICTION that you’re struggling with??? hmmm???

      1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

        Are you not familiar with the phrase “as a complete aside”, honeybunch?

          1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

            What’s with the meaningful pauses?
            Lut’s gut pished! (roared like the Scottish Dad roars in So I Married An Axe Murderer, which is a very funny movie––but I digress).

      1. Spaghetti Hoop

        But that’s a novel, and would go under the ‘Fiction’ suggestions only it’s not even Irish.

  3. Gabby

    A Mad Thing to Do: a century of Columban Missions, by Neil Collins SSC (2017)
    – tells lots of facts about Irish Columban priests and Irish Columban sisters trying to cope with language, culture, geography and political turmoil in several countries including China, Burma, the Philippines, Korea, Peru, Chile and Brazil. True Irish adventure stories galore.

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