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City of Books

Sep 16, 2021

Michael Collins is the most famous casualty of the Irish Civil War but there is a lot of “what-if-ery”about him, says Ireland’s best-known historian.

“Some “vey fanciful” claims are about the kind of leader he would have become if he had survived, according to Diarmaid Ferriter.

He says: “We have to be careful of investing too much in the idea of the lost leader because Collins shared many of the limitations and the prejudices, as well as the considerable abilities, of his generation.”

Professor Ferriter notes that Michael Collins was “a serious celebrity” at the time of his death in 1922. He dismisses conspiracy theories about his shooting at Béal na Bláth in Co Cork as “far-fetched”.

Between Two Hells: The Irish Civil War by Diarmaid Ferriter is published by Profile Books. More here:

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