Garda Post.com book reviews
The Strangled Impulse
By William King €9.99 Paperback
The Strangled Impulse follows a young curate uprooted from a comfortable parish to serve the pastoral needs of workingclass North Dublin. Set against the backdrop of the Church’s dwindling influence in 1970s Ireland and an increased scrutiny of priests’ personal lives, this is the story of Father O’Neill’s battles between the demands of his vocation and his own desires. His loneliness leads him to an attractive yet wounded woman, and together they find a solace they once thought impossible. As O’Neill struggles with the promises he made on ordination day, their new-found intimacy threatens to destroy them both. William King’s daring first novel offers an insight into the conflicted, political, brotherly world of the priesthood. Re-issued for the first time since its publication in 1997, it is augmented with an afterword by the author reflecting on his work.
By John Drennan €16.99
It’s been 500 years since Niccolò Machiavelli wrote The Prince, but his words have hardly passed into irrelevance. Here to make that point, in his inimitable style, is celebrated Sunday Independent political columnist John Drennan. It might appear strange that a 16th-century Italian political philosopher should provide us with a roadmap to political power in Ireland, but as Drennan makes clear, the gap between the parish pump and the Renaissance palazzo is a narrow one indeed. Drennan draws on Machiavelli to cultivate invaluable advice for the aspiring politician, such as how to cultivate the cloak of being an ‘ordinary decent skin’, how to choose your scapegoats carefully and how to be a straight-talker whilst embracing vagueness. This hilarious account of the compromises the Irish politician has to make in order to seize power is not just a ‘celebration’ of the politics of cynical amorality; it’s a timely reminder of the role we play in choosing our leaders.
The Irish Diaries (1994-2003)
By Alastair Campbell, Ed Kathy Gilfillan €16.99
The four volumes of spokesman and strategist Alastair Campbell’s diaries were a publishing sensation. As British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s right-hand man, former journalist and political analyst Campbell played a critical role in every aspect of OENew Labour strategy. Charting the course of British government from July 1994 to August 2003, Campbell’s relentlessly honest, often controversial, occasionally brutal and always razor-sharp commentary has drawn critical acclaim around the world. This newly edited one-volume edition focuses on Ireland, and one of the Blair government’s biggest successes, the Northern Ireland peace process. From the high of the Good Friday agreement and devolution in Northern Ireland to the deadly lows of the Manchester and Omagh bombings, The Irish Diaries explores the tensions, all-night talks, adrenalin-fuelled negotiations and heady personality clashes that are such an intrinsic part of democratic politics. Newly annotated and fully revised by Alastair Campbell it features commissioned material by key figures in the Irish peace process, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern,Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell himself.
MEDIUM SIZED TOWN, FAIRLY BIG STORY
By Ronan Casey €10.99 Hardback
“The Stories that make the Headlines in Ireland’s local newspapers.. And nowhere else.” Medium-Sized Town, Fairly Big Story is a window on the real soul of Ireland, a snapshot of the way we were, the way we are and, hopefully, the way we’ll always be. For anyone with a sense of humour and a taste for the absurd, here are the best of the unique, hilarious stories from towns and villages the length and breadth of the country that made the headlines in the local newspapers … and nowhere else. With stories about the dogs in Mountmellick being forced to wear nappies, the Kerry boat-builder who travelled 23 minutes back in time, the pub thieves who escaped through Limerick prison, the Corkman whose most treasured possession is his bucket from the Pope’s 1979 visit, and many, many more, Medium-Sized Town, Fairly Big Story showcases the best of Ireland’s distinctive humour, personality and wit.