Diarmuid Ferriter’s books of the year

Author of Ambiguous Republic: Ireland in the 1970s

The history of the Irish revolutionary period, 1913-23, has been well served this year; highlights include Charles Townshend's The Republic: The Fight for Irish Independence 1918-23 (Penguin) and Ronan Fanning's Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-22 (Faber and Faber); both are authoritative, well- researched accounts of the political and military dimensions of the War of Independence.

Pat Leahy's formidable array of inside sources are marshalled to great effect in The Price of Power (Penguin Ireland), his inside story of Ireland's current Government. Charles Moore's Margaret Thatcher (Allen Lane) makes effective use of previously unpublished correspondence from her early years and reveals much about her intriguing personality.

With the centenary of the Dublin Lockout, a rereading of James Plunkett's Strumpet City (2013 edition, Gill & Macmillan) was rewarding – and a vivid reminder of the skill that went into the making of an outstanding historical novel.

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