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February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter


A Book of the Irish Century

Morgan Llywelyn

History revived, indeed sometimes revised, by the pen of fiction is a popular genre these days and when it comes to injecting drama and personalities into Irish history, few writers have been as prolific as Llywelyn, who here follows her earlier work, "I916," with a dramatic page-turning treatment of the heart-rending and bloody conflict that was the Irish Civil War. Fictional characters interplay with true historical figures. Forge publishers. 445 pp. $29.95.


Barry Desmond

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In a political career that reached into four decades, Barry Desmond gained a reputation as being one of Ireland’s most erudite politicians. A Cork native who attached his flag to the mast of Ireland’s Labor Party, Desmond was in the thick of the action through some of the most dramatic years of late 20th Century Irish political life, especially the early years of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and the dramatic upheavals in southern politics during the early 1980s. From Dufour Editions, Chester Springs, PA 19425 ([610]458-5005). 411 pp. $16.95.


Noel C. Cullen

Echo readers are long past the need for convincing that Irish cuisine can be up there with the best of them. What is of particular present interest is the surging growth in the number of recipes that come with an Irish twist. In this book, Irish-born and now Boston-based Noel C. Cullen, one of only 52 master chefs in the United States, takes the reader through a culinary tour that is neither magical nor mysterious, but merely delicious and immense, numbering no fewer than 166 recipes. Lebhar-Friedman Books. $35.



The Evolution of a People and a Culture

Maureen Dezell

Shamrockery is one word for it. Stereotype comes to mind. Irish Americans have long fretted over a populist if not always popular image of Irish America presented to the broader world, not least around this time of the year. Is it a problem with green beer, or beer as it usually looks? Or both? What is authentic Irish-American culture and what is merely fakery dressed up in the interests of commercial gain? Boston Globe reporter Maureen Dezell sets out in search of the "real" Irish America in this hardcover from Doubleday. It is an important mission and even if it’s one without possible end, Dezell is contributing new insight and needed substance to a subject worthy of serious study 365 days of the year. She has the last word, for now. 259 pp. $24.95.

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