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Irish Mythologies

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Chapter Summary

Eamonn McCann has written a fine, argumentative book in which he continuously relates his own experience of grassroots politics to Ireland's recent history. The merits of the book are uneven; the sections of autobiographical narrative are first-rate, the political history is good in parts, but only in parts, and the application of what Mr McCann takes to be Marxism leads to a final substitution of fiction for fact. Nonetheless, Mr McCann's book could play an important part in destroying the current English mythology about the North of Ireland. The current English mythology runs like this. There were, indeed, until 1968 grave abuses in Northern Ireland which somehow English liberalism had just not got around to reforming. Then, a civil-rights movement arose and would have moved toward its goals, but for the fact that it was too influenced by - O, horror! - dangerous extremists.

Keywords:civil-rights movement; Eamonn McCann; English liberalism; English mythology; grassroots politics; Marxism; Northern Ireland

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