Enda Kenny’s cure for the summertime blues
Deaglán de Bréadún
So what are our politicians reading in the summer rain? In a previous blog I wrote about Brian Cowen’s current taste in books, but what of his opposition counterpart? I met Enda Kenny at the Humbert Summer School in Ballina where, taking a breather after a lengthy speech lambasting the Taoiseach, he told me his favourite titles of the moment were as follows:
1) The State of Africa: Fifty Years of Independence by Martin Meredith, which is (my description) a stark account of the corruption and despotism that has in many cases blighted the hopes that arose with the end of colonialism. I seem to recall John O’Shea of Goal recommending this book to people – O’Shea is a sharp critic of Irish government-to-government aid in Africa.
2) The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia by Orlando Figes. Based on interviews with survivors of the Stalinist terror and hundreds of family archives, this has been described as the most important book about Soviet totalitarianism since Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago.
3) Summits: Six Meetings that Shaped the Twentieth Century by David Reynolds. This is an account of crucial diplomatic conclaves which set the course of history over the past 80 years, including Chamberlain and Hitler at Munich in 1938; Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta in 1945; Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David in 1978.