16 Lives: Roger Casement by Angus Mitchell

Paperback review

16Lives: Roger Casemen
16Lives: Roger Casemen
Author: Angus Mitchell
ISBN-13: 9781847172648
Publisher: O’Brien Press
Guideline Price: €8.99

This rich biography is part of a series on the 16 men executed in the 1916 Easter Rising, with Roger Casement emerging as a particularly unique man in the complex narratives of Irish nationalism, not least because of his time as a colonial official, a post he resigned in 1913. Part of that job was to investigate crimes against humanity, and Casement's sense of ethics brought him into the Rising – and into the path of powers that wanted to destroy him. Angus Mitchell quotes an early chronicler of the War of Independence, Shaw Desmond: "Look well upon this man because he carried in himself the whole story of Ireland." Mitchell weaves Casement's attuned sense of suffering through the Congo to gunrunning in Howth, the infamous Black Diaries and his death, reminding us that his legacy is of furthering an understanding of human rights.

Siobhán Kane

Siobhán Kane is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in culture