Reviews - What do customers think about A Provisional Dictator: James Stephens and the Fenian Movement?
Great Research! Great Read! Nov 28, 2007
Ms. Ramon's diligent research has shaped a highly complete biography of James Stephens, the founder of the IRB--the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Her exploration of Stephen's relationship to the American Fenian Brotherhood of America is cogent. Stephen's was a very complex man, yet Ms. Ramon dug out all facets of his personality in a lively style. Her book will not be matched in our lifetime. Some scholar must take on the task of providing us with great biographies of Michael Doheny and John O'Mahoney to close the Fenian ring.Highly Recommended!
A Provisional Dictator Jul 31, 2007
The Fenian movement consisted of two linked Irish nationalist organizations, one centered in Ireland and the other in the United States. Fenianism was an outgrowth of the Young Ireland Rising of 1848. Many participants of that rising escaped from the British dragnet that followed to settle in France and America. It took ten years for these men to reassemble their forces again. In 1858 Young Irelanders, now old, under Michael Doheny and John O'Mahony living in the United States, signed up James Stephens to organize an army in Ireland to challenge the British right to rule. O'Mahony and his organization in the US promised military men to lead and to provide arms for a new Irish rising. Stephens did a masterful job of organizing Irishmen in Ireland into a secret society known as the Irish Republican Brotherhood or IRB. Unfortunately his organizing powers were much better than his ability to coordinate the hard decision to fight in 1865 and Stephens was written off as a vacillating failure by many nationalists. Desmond Ryan, an admirer of Stephens, wrote his biography (The Fenian Chief - published posthumously 1967) but it is outdated and lacks research material uncovered by Ramon and others in recent years. Ramon's biography brings scholarly research up to date on Stephens and details his life and his contribution to the Fenian movement. The book is very readable, meticulously footnoted and provides, at last, a scholarly biography of the supreme organizer of physical force nationalism in Ireland. Ramon's biography examines Stephens' character and offers well-thought out discussion concerning the motives for Stephens often criticized actions as the Chief of the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood. In addition to facts not before revealed of Stephens' life, this book is written with an objective clarity that is lacking in the Desmond Ryan's account. Ramon explains in a coherent manner the complex nature of Irish physical force nationalism, from its formation out of the failure of Young Ireland through the turbulent years 1865-1878. The Fenians laid the groundwork for the eventual independence of the Irish Republic that arose out of the 1916 Easter Rising. This book should not be missed by those interested in Irish and Irish-American history. A great biography of a man who altered the historical path of Irish history.
First-rate Jul 26, 2007
Required reading for anyone interested in the fascinating history of the Fenian movement. This will be the authoritative Stephens biography for some time to come. It is thorough, precise, enormously detailed, and altogether entertaining at the same time.