Cover Image: Great Hatred

Great Hatred

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Wow this book is a brilliant biographical account but also historical account of the Troubles and war in Ireland. Taken to a really personal level, the author has done some excellent research to bring the individuals and their backstory to life. I knew little in the way of Irish history apart for the the Easter uprising  it wow, this book has given me so much more to think about and understand. A great read.
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Need to up your reading? There’s a wealth of new books out in May covering #business #science #health #mindandbody #history and #essays.
Great Hatred by Ronan McGreevy sheds light on a moment that changed the course of Irish and British history.
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On 22 June 1922, Sir Henry Wilson, former soldier, former head of the British army, valued advisor to the Cabinet during WWI, & recently elected MP, was assassinated by Joseph O'Sullivan & Reggie Dunne. Wilson was shot several times on his own doorstep & many of his neighbours saw the two men running from the scene & gave chase. Wilson succumbed to his injuries, & when the two men were apprehended, they were arrested & charged with murder. Although they were both born in England & had served in the British army, they were adamant that it was done for the freedom of Ireland. 

Wilson himself was born in Ireland (before it was partitioned in 1921), his family were Protestant landowners, & he considered himself Anglo-Irish. He was a supporter of the governing of Ireland remaining under British control & the British Empire as a whole. He seems to have been a divisive character, even to his friends, with his public persona more brusque & uncompromising than his private words especially towards Ireland, & his rhetoric could be inflammatory. This led to Wilson being held responsible, in the eyes of some Irish Nationalists, for the behaviour of the Black & Tans (those recruited into the Royal Irish Constabulary during the War of Independence) even though he was not responsible for them. None of this excuses murder of course, but may explain why he was targeted. 

I found this a fascinating read as, although I hail from the UK, I was very young when the IRA bombings in the late 1980s & 1990s were occurring, & although I vaguely remember hearing about them, the whole history behind what was happening was not something I looked into. This book puts the Ireland & Britain of the 1920s into context, i.e. The Irish War of Independence & the Irish Civil War which followed. O'Sullivan & Dunne were both hanged for their part in Wilson's murder, but there are still questions over whether they acted alone or on orders from someone higher up. There is evidence that Dunne was in the London IRA & that discussions over potential targets for assassination had been discussed. Was Wilson one of them? How involved was Michael Collins in the whole affair?

The author gives detailed biographies for both Wilson & his assailants to ascertain what led up to the assassination & the wars that followed. I think the author does a great job of examining the evidence whilst keeping a balanced approach. Reading this has helped fill in the gaps in my knowledge about both Irish & British early twentieth century history & the ramifications we still see occasionally today. Recommended for anyone interested in the history between Ireland & Britain. 

My thanks to NetGalley & publishers, Faber & Faber, for the opportunity to read an ARC.
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I must admin that I know nearly nothing about the even that brought to Irish civil war and this book was an excellent way to learn something more.
The author does an excellent job in giving a balanced account of what happened and the always keeps the attention alive.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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I will openly admit that I knew virtually nothing about the historical events of this book before reading it, but author Roman McGreevy brings both the assassination, and the characters involved, to life so vividly that I feel saddened that I have finally come to the end.    

On the 22nd of June 1922, the retired Field Marshall Sir Henry Wilson MP unveiled a WWI memorial at Liverpool Street Station.   He had spent four years as the Chief of Imperial General Staff (CIGS) and, when he left the position, he was elected as MP for North Down in Northern Ireland.  Ironically, Wilson was an Irishman who considered himself British, whilst his two assassins considered themselves Irish, but were not born there…   In fact, Wilson objected strongly to the Anglo-Irish Treaty, negotiated with Sinn Fein in December 1921, seeing the Irish Free State as a betrayal and a surrender to the IRA.  

Following the ceremony, on that day in 1922, Wilson had an appointment at the House of Commons and went home to change.  He was met by Joe O’Sullivan, a clerk who had a wooden leg and Reginald ‘Reggie’ Dunne.  Both were committed members of the IRA, and they assassinated Wilson as he arrived at his house.

This book follows the events of those day, gives a biography of the three men involved, and asks why the assassination was ordered, and by who, as well as looking at the ramifications of the murder and the aftermath.   In fact, McGreevy compares this assassination to the shooting of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, suggesting that it changed Irish history and the Irish Civil War.   Having read this, I agree that the events were momentous and feel McGreevy gives a balanced, but extremely gripping, account of what happened.  I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
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A very well researched book on a political assassination that took place 100 years ago but which has had little coverage for a long long time.
Field Marshall Sir Henry Wilson was best known as the head of the British army at the conclusion of the First World War. Shortly afterwards he retired to become an MP before losing his life at the hands of two IRA men who ironically had served and been injured in the Great War serving that army. This murder led to the Irish Civil War and the complex political problems concerning the newly founded Irish State. With access to detailed archive material and answering many of the questions relating to that time and its participants such as Michael Collins this book reveals much and is worthy of its place in the annals of Irish history.
My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for granting me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
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