THIS year sees the 100th anniversary of the death of solider and politician Michael Collins, the legendary leader of Irish republicanism.
Two new books published this month by Gill give readers the ideal chance to brush up on the life and times of the Clonakilty man, or even educate themselves on his story right from the very start.
The Pocket Biography of Michael Collins takes the reader from when he was born in 1890, to when he joined Sinn Féin at 18 and later took part in the 1916 rising.
At Kilmainham Gaol only a stroke of luck saved him from death. In the 1918 General Election he won a seat for Sinn Féin in South Cork and was appointed Minister of Finance in the newly formed Dáil Eireann in 1919.
Following the War of Independence in which he played an effective if at times ruthless role, he led the Irish delegation in London to negotiate the Anglo-Irish Treaty, resulting in the partitioning of Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State. The Treaty would ignite civil war in Ireland, ultimately resulting the Collins’s assassination on 22 August 1922. Michael Collins’s untimely death caused a huge outpouring of grief in the country he loved, with twenty percent of the population attending the funeral of the man who had done more than any other to secure ‘the freedom to achieve freedom’ of Ireland.
The concise illustrated biography covers all aspects of his life, work and murder at an ambush at the age of 32 and is a most accessible look at his life, death and legacy.
Meanwhile a second book, Michael Collins The People’s Peacemaker, gives younger readers the chance to discover the historic figure, as told and illustrated by father and daughter John and Fatti Burke.
The book is part of The Little Library series and follows the bestselling successes of the Fatti and John’s ‘Opedia’ series, including Irelandopedia which won an Irish Book Award in 2015 and a CBI Book of the Year Award in 2016. The Little Library Series also includes such moch loved gems as Mary Robinson: A Voice for Fairness, Granuaile: Pirate Queen, Brian Boru: The Warrior King, Constance Markievicz: The Rebel Countess and Tom Crean: The Brave Explorer.
•The People’s Peacemaker is in book shops now priced €9.99, with the pocket biography costing €5.99.