Eamon de Valera is the most controversial figure in modern Irish history and as this book argues, the most misunderstood. `Dev' has been characterised as a stern, un-bending, devious and divisive politician, in scholarship and in popular culture. Here, Diarmaid Ferriter investigates the far more complex personal and public identities of the revolutionary fighter, Fianna Fail party founder, taoiseach (prime minister) and president who reimagined the state both literally, in its first constitution, and figuratively, offering a much mocked vision of Ireland as a pre-industrial, pastoral island. Ferriter presents an in-depth analysis of De Valera using previously unpublished letters, government documents and photographs to chronicle his long and remarkable career. One such letter contradicts the conventional wisdom that de Valera escaped execution in 1916 because of his American citizenship, offering the leader's personal account of events. Engagingly written and tactile to hold, Judging Dev won four prestigious Irish book awards and awakened a national conversation through a parallel RTE radio series and RIA exhibition. When an Irish taoiseach launched this book in 2007 it was fittingly said it would be `equally invaluable in classroom, in college and in the home'.
Diarmaid Ferriter is a Professor of Modern Irish History at the School of History, University College Dublin. His main research interest is the social, political and cultural history of twentieth century Ireland. His book Judging Dev: A Reassessment of the Life and Legacy of Eamon De Valera was published by the Royal Irish Academy in 2007. He also contributed a chapter, "A figurative scramble for the bones of the patriot dead': Commemorating the Rising, 1922-65', to the publication 1916 in 1966: Commemorating the Easter Rising (2007).
I: 'Stop making love outside Aras an Uachtarain'; II: 'Decidedly a "personality"'; III: 'I would have gone and said, "Go to the devil, I will not sign".'; IV: 'Appearing on platforms at twilight illuminated by blazing sods of turf '; V: 'Our international position will let the world and the people at home knowthat we are independent.'; VI: 'An affair of hasty improvisations, a matter of fits and starts.'; VII: 'The policy of patience has failed and is over'; VIII: 'Too trained in English democracy to sit down under a dictatorship'; IX: 'A definite Liberalism is always present.'; X: 'A fascist and slave conception of woman'; XI: 'Is it smugness or insurgency that makes them say "Emergency"?'; XII: 'One man shouldn't have a vision like that for all the people'; XIII: 'I regret the modern overwhelming invasion of science'; XIV: 'I have had all the things that in a human way make for happiness.'; XV: 'Tough as teak'; XVI: 'One of the last of the great Victorians'?