Partition, The: Ireland Divided, 1885-1925

Charles Townshend

Format: Hardback

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Published: 01-04-2021



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In the aftermath of the horrors of the Irish Famine, the grim, distrustful relationship between Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom deteriorated into a generations-long argument about ‘Home Rule’. The sheer novelty of Ireland’s situation – wanting to remove itself from the world’s largest Empire – made it extraordinarily difficult for either side to come up with a compromise. For many years actual independence seemed inconceivable. And then, as these bitter disputes continued, it became clear that under no circumstances would the Protestants in the north be party to any of it.The Partition is a remarkable, clear-sighted and thoughtful account of how two unthinkable events – full Irish independence and the creation of the state of Northern Ireland – came to pass. It turned out that the religious and cultural divisions between much of the North and much of the South which had been ignorable within the wider UK were intolerable in the context of Dublin going its own way. Here Charles Townshend lays out what is ultimately a tragic story, as partition became the only answer to an otherwise insoluble problem. The issue of Ireland drew in every major politician, destroyed great careers, conjured up heroes and villains, led to civil war and finally to Ulster’s catastrophic Troubles. The hard border has always been seen as a failure of both British and Irish statecraft, but has endured now for a century. The Partition brilliantly brings to life the contingency and uncertainty that created it.

Additional information

Dimensions 156 × 240 mm
Page Count 368