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Latest books and music reviewed by the Irish Echo

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

THE IRISH FAMINE

A documentary

Colm T=ibfn and Diarmaid Ferriter

It is unlikely that the argument over the nature and causes of the Great Hunger will ever be laid to rest. The Famine as genocide, or tragic historical accident, will be opposite views that will still be colliding 150 years from now. In this book, the authors set out to take the broadest possible view of what led to the Famine and why it turned into a human disaster of truly awful proportions. T=ibfn, one of Ireland’s better contemporary fiction writers, fills the first half of the book with an essay that seeks to turn aside the position, not uncommon on this side of the Atlantic, that the Famine was purely and simply an act of genocide. In the second part, Ferriter, a lecturer at Dublin City University, makes use of contemporary documents to draw the reader’s attention to the many and varied responses to the famine, both in Ireland and in Britain. Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press. 214 pp. $23.95.

DISCOVERIES . . . IRELAND

Bennett-Watt Media

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This three-part video/DVD package would seem to be just the ticket for putting you in the mood for that summer sojourn in Ireland. Produced by Washington, D.C.-based Bennett-Watt Media, the three 60-minute documentary programs are entitled “The Emerald Isle,” “A Mystical Journey” and “A Celtic Treasure.” Irish people at work and play, their music, history and landscape are given the very latest digital technology treatment in the three-part package that costs $89.85. Individual titles also available at $29.95 each. Call 1 (800) 327-2893 for details.

FISHERMAN’S BLUES, PART TWO

The Waterboys

The popular Waterboys, Mike Scott to the fore, reached a bend in the river with this CD and took a break from their big music sound to produce a soundtrack blending folk country, blues, gospel and rock. Recorded at Dublin’s now threatened with demolition Windmill Studios, home of U2, Fisherman’s Blues, Part Two is a collection of songs that comes from 15 years of work by the Waterboys and is, according to the publicity sheet accompanying the CD, “a perfect musical bookend” to the band’s career so far. Razor and Tie label, details (212) 473-9173.

DARINA ALLEN’S BALLYMALOE

COOKING SCHOOL COOKBOOK

Darina Allen

If Darina Allen ever moved to New Orleans she would be starring on the Food Network as a stylistic antidote to the high octane Emeril Lagasse. But Darina has made her fame and fortune in a quieter corner of the world: Ballymaloe in County Cork. And it is from this base that she runs her now world-famous cooking school. Cookery, of course, begins with ingredients and in this book Allen starts with advice on shopping and stocking a pantry before she gets into technique and recipes. Pelican. 640 pp., 300 color photos. $45. www.pelicanpub.com.

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