Frank Aiken's War

Frank Aiken's War : The Irish Revolution, 1916-23

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From an adolescent farmer to a local Sinn Fein activist and provincial guerrilla leader, and eventually to chief-of-staff of the IRA, Frank Aiken has an early, hidden history. As with so many of his political generation, Aiken's path to politics began amid the violent upheaval of the Irish revolution. In a career spanning 50 years he served in numerous high-profile ministerial roles and earned widespread recognition for his work as Ireland's representative to the United Nations. Yet these later successes masked a controversial past. This comprehensive study provides the first in-depth look at Aiken's role in Ireland's turbulent revolutionary period, 1916-23. Drawing on a wide variety of original archival sources, this book blends elements of biography and local study to offer both the first exhaustive account of Aiken's role in the conflict, and the first in-depth study of the broader context of republican politics and violence in Ulster in which he played such a pivotal role. This book creates a detailed map of Aiken's formative years, exploring the early movements of the man which would place him at the forefront of Irish and international Free State politics.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 250 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 15mm | 234g
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • English
  • 1906359822
  • 9781906359829
  • 680,836

Table of contents

Abbreviations; Introduction; Prelude to a revolution; Emergence; War for independence; Interlude; Offensive; Civil war; Conclusion; Notes on statistics; Tables; Sources & bibliography; Index; Abbreviations.
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Review quote

'Lewis has a measured take on the various historical controversies that surround Aiken's career as guerrilla leader - this is a useful book full of well grounded research. Arguments are carefully considered and clearly put.' The Irish Story, November 2014 'The activities of Aiken's Fourth Division of the IRA in the Armagh-South Down-North Louth area are exhaustively analysed. The book also gives a detailed account of Aiken's vain attempts to avert the looming Civil War from his distant stronghold on the Border - Aiken does not come well out of the "dirty war" which saw sectarian murders and brutal reprisals shared between IRA and local B-Specials around the foothills of Slieve Gullion and scenic Camlough.' The Irish Catholic, October 2014 '[Frank Aiken's] role in the revolutionary period is subject to close examination by Matthew Lewis in a book that shows its academic origins in the detail presented, but which succeeds in fleshing out the life of an individual who was formative in the birth and development of the state.' Evening Echo, October 2014 'In the midst of an intensifying commemorative decade, Matthew Lewis's Frank Aiken's War is a welcome addition to the literature on this momentous era. This book focuses on the motivations, realities and consequences of this revolutionary conflict at grassroots level, in Ulster, by blending biography with local history.' Antoine Guillemette, Australasian Journal of Irish Studies, 2016
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About Matthew Lewis

Dr Matthew Lewis is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Centre for the History of Violence at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Until September 2013, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Centre for War Studies at University College Dublin. He completed his PhD at Queen's University Belfast in 2011.
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