Twentieth-Century Ireland is a revised and extended study of the long twentieth century, surveying politics, administrative history, social and religious history, culture and censorship, politics, literature and art. It explores central but neglected features of modern Irish history, presenting an inclusive narrative.
This is a book about the establishment and consolidation of the new Irish state. Dermot Keogh highlights the long tragedy of emigration and its effect on the Irish psyche and on the under-performance of the Irish economy. He emphasises the loss of the new-found opportunities for reform of the 1960s and early 70s. Membership of the EEC, now EU, had a diminished impact due to short-term and sectionally motivated political thinking and an antiquated government structure.
The despair of the 1950s revisited the country in the 1980s as almost an entire generation felt compelled to emigrate, very often as undocumented workers in the United States.
Dermot Keogh also argues that the violence in Northern Ireland from the late 1960s had a major hidden impact on the government of the Irish state. He presents the crisis as an Anglo-Irish failure which was turned around only when the British government acknowledged that the Irish government had a vital role to play in the resolution of the problem.
Dermot Keogh extends his analysis to include a wide-ranging survey of the most contentious events – financial corruption, child sexual abuse, scandals in the Catholic Church – between 1994 and 2005.
‘Here is a fair-minded political history which also embraces cultural developments. It seeks to write into Irish history those it feels had previously been written out ; migrant workers, emigrants, itinerants, religious minorities and that other half of the Irish race, women.’ Sunday Tribune
‘Dr Keogh’s book stands as a mighty effort by one historian to help us understand our recent past and cut through the shibboleths.’ The Irish Times