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February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter


Fergus Finlay

For anyone seeking an insider’s view on modern Irish politics, Fergus Finlay’s "Snakes & Ladders" is required reading. Finlay worked for three governments, from 1982 to 1997, as an adviser to Dick Spring. In that role, Finlay was the at the center of what was a most eventful, even turbulent, period in Irish politics. This memoir tells of the fierce struggles within the Labor Party, the hopes and achievements of governments with Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Democratic Left. Dufour Editions ([610] 458-5005). 340 pp. $19.95.


Mary McAleese

This book is based on lectures given by Mary McAleese in the summer of 1997, just before she became a candidate in the election for president of Ireland. In Northern Ireland at that time, there was no cease-fire, no dialogue, no agreement and little prospect of any. The book contains a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and in the ensuing pages, McAleese shares her deepest beliefs about the way to lasting peace. She illustrates her ideas with stories from her personal life and family as well as her political experience. Cassell & Continuum ([212] 953-5858). 120 pp.

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Edited by John Matthews

The stories and speeches in this book come from throughout Britain. Also included as a selection of Bardic poems as well as expert discussions that reveal the wonder and brilliance of the bards’ legacy, all an important contribution to Celtic literary heritage. John Matthews is the author of more than 50 books on Celtic, Arthurian and related topics, his most recent work being "The Druid Source Book," which is a companion volume to this book. Sterling Publishing Co. Inc., 387 Park Ave. South, New York, NY 10016. 384 pp. $14.95.


Dáithí O’hÓgáin

In this beautifully illustrated 128-page hardback, Dáithí O’hÓgáin, an associate professor of Irish folklore at University College in Dublin, outlines the rich, war-torn history of the Celts. Since written Celtic sources date back only to the 6th Century AD, O’hÓgáin draws on Greek and Roman translations about the early Celts. Contains 170 photos, maps and charts. St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Ave., New York NY 10010. 128 pp. $25.

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