16 Lives: Patrick Pearse by Ruán O’Donnell
16 LIves: Patrick Pearse
This is the first biography of Patrick Pearse that uses the treasure trove of statements in the Bureau of Military Archives. The author, a lecturer at the University of Limerick, has put lots of flesh on the bones of Pearse’s political life, but the book lacks real analysis of its subject. Pearse had great leadership qualities, but he was also a very complex individual, and a biography must address these complexities, including the idea of blood sacrifice and his bizarre welcoming of the killing fields in Europe. (In these, he was not unique, being a man of his time.) Failure to do so fails Pearse. The Sovereign People, Pearse’s most mature political pamphlet, published before his death, is not even mentioned, much less discussed. Nor is The Murder Machine, Pearse’s searing indictment of the British educational system in Ireland.