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Book Title: The Year of Liberty: The Story of the Great Irish Rebellion of 1798|
The author of the book: Thomas Pakenham
Date of issue: January 28th 1970
ISBN 13: 9780139718953
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 345 KB
Read full description of the books The Year of Liberty: The Story of the Great Irish Rebellion of 1798:PEASANTS, PIKES AND PRIESTS
Thomas Pakenham is one of the finest British narrative historians of recent decades. Primarily known for his history of late nineteenth century European imperialism in Africa ("The Scramble for Africa") and his detailed account of "The Boer War", his earlier work on The Great Irish Rebellion of 1798 - "The Year of Liberty" - seems to be rather less well known. This is a great shame as in terms of the quality of the research, and the writing, it seems (to this reader at least) to be a book that sits comfortably with his two more famous works.
Pakenham details the personalities, the events, and the historical reality that led to an uprising of over a hundred thousand Irish peasants in late spring 1798 in order to throw the British out of Ireland. The idealism and incompetence of the leadership of the United Irishmen left the peasantry without their "natural" leaders; the brutality of the British and "loyalist" policy of disarming the peasantry, the historical facts of the dispossession of that same catholic peasantry, and the heady atmosphere of the revolutionary years (including two French invasions of Ireland that parenthesise this history: one failure, one too little and too late) all played their part in making the Rebellion almost inevitable. The ferocity of the "loyalist" response gave little hope for peace ever being restored, and it was only the appointment of Lord Cornwallis, and his putting a stop to their worst excesses, that restored any sort of normality to the country.
"The Year of Liberty" is a heart-rending book, the tragic tale of a peasantry forced into retaliating against a heartless and vicious oppression that left them with little choice but to rebel. Armed with Pikes and agricultural implements, and with the guidance and leadership of a handful of more or less reluctant priests, they faced off against the British Imperial State. By the end of the rebellion over 30,000 lives had been lost.
The prose is a model for the narrative form of historical writing; it easily engages the reader without sacrificing the complexities of context, places, personalities or events. Included are some excellent maps that allow the reader the novelty of being able to geographically locate nearly every place mentioned in the text. There is also a detailed chronology of the rebellion, a bibliography and comprehensive endnotes that indicate the rich variety of primary and secondary sources Pakenham has consulted. As with Pakenham's other narrative histories, one can fully appreciate the awesome amount of work that went into this book. It is no surprise that he only wrote three of them over a period of twenty odd years. Well recommended.
Read information about the authorThomas Francis Dermot Pakenham, 8th Earl of Longford, is known simply as Thomas Pakenham. He is an Anglo-Irish historian and arborist who has written several prize-winning books on the diverse subjects of Victorian and post-Victorian British history and trees. He is the son of Frank Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford, a Labour minister and human rights campaigner, and Elizabeth Longford. The well known English historian Antonia Fraser is his sister.
After graduating from Belvedere College and Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1955, Thomas Pakenham traveled to Ethiopia, a trip which is described in his first book The Mountains of Rasselas. On returning to Britain, he worked on the editorial staff of the Times Educational Supplement and later for ,i>The Sunday Telegraph and The Observer. He divides his time between London and County Westmeath, Ireland, where he is the chairman of the Irish Tree Society and honorary custodian of Tullynally Castle.
Thomas Pakenham does not use his title and did not use his courtesy title before succeeding his father. However, he has not disclaimed his British titles under the Peerage Act 1963, and the Irish peerages cannot be disclaimed as they are not covered by the Act. He is unable to sit in the House of Lords as a hereditary peer as his father had, due to the House of Lords Act 1999 (though his father was created a life peer in addition to his hereditary title in order to be able to retain his seat).
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