Synopses & Reviews
The Irish fight for independence is one of the most captivating tales of the twentieth century. Morgan Llywelyn, the acclaimed historical writer of books like Lion of Ireland, Bard
and The Horse Goddess
, is the writer born to bring this epic battle to life. Having created an entire body of work chronicling the Celts and Ireland, she now turns to recent Irish history to create a multivolume saga: The Irish Century.
1921 tells the story of the Irish War of Independence and the heartbreaking civil war that followed. Henry Mooney, a reporter for theClare Champion and the Irish Bulletin, is a self-described "moderate nationalist" who struggles to see the truth in the news of the day, and to report it fairly. Lacking more radical Republican beliefs of his dear friends Ned Halloran and Sile Duffy, Henry reports the political--and later, bloody--actions of his fellow Irishman from the ashes of the failed 1916 Rising to the creation of the Irish Free State to the tragic and wide-ranging battles of the Irish Civil War.
Meanwhile, Henry feels the impact of these history-changing events in his own personal life. His friendship with Ned falters when their political beliefs diverge, and an unexpected tragedy leaves them further apart than ever. Henry struggles with his passion for a well-bred Protestant Anglo-Irish woman, Ella Rutledge, and as he dutifully reports the events in the political battle for independence, he comes to realize that the Irish struggle for freedom wil leave no life untouched--and no Irish citizen with a dry eye or an untroubled heart.
"Irish writer Morgan Llywelyn is tracing the history of Ireland in a saga called 'The Irish Century' . . . Ms. Llywleyn's work interprets the Irish Troubles in a fictional setting that helps outlanders understand their complexity and bitterness."-The Richmond Times-Dispatch
"A wonderful, and exciting book-a great reading pleasure."-Irish American News
The story of Henry Mooney, a patriotic young Irish journalist, who struggles for truth in his reporting and falls in love with an Anglo-Irish widow in Dublin, in the days of civil war. It was a time of heroes and traitors, nobility, idealism and horrifying political betrayals.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -518).
Continuing Llywelyn's multi-novel saga that began with "1916, 1921" chronicles the year of the Irish Civil War and the separation of Ireland into two nations, south and north. Henry Mooney, a young Irish journalist struggles for truth in his reporting and falls in love with an Anglo-Irish widow in Dublin in the midst of political and military horrors.
About the Author
Since 1980 Morgan Llywelyn
has created an entire body of work chronicling the Celts and Ireland, from the earliest times to the present day. her critically acclaimed novels, both of history and of mythology, have been translated into many languages. She is an Irish citizen and lives in Dublin.
Reading Group Guide
1. Like most revolutions, the Irish struggle for freedom began with high ideals and intense moral purpose, yet soon there was brutality too. Is moral degeneration an inevitable part of warfare and politics, or were the character flaws of the leading players responsible?
2.The author does a marvelous job of showing the very human side of such legendary historical figures as Michael Collins, Eamon de Valera, and others. Do these portrayals of flawed men and women shatter their mystique or add to them?
3. We know that there are no black-and-white truths in war or history, merely shades of gray. How might the history of the struggle as portrayed in 1921 differ in perspective if taught in an English school? An Irish classroom? An American class?
4. In recent decades, the IRA has become increasingly known as a terrorist group, while the Protestant militants in the Orange Order who annually parade through Catholic areas are often presented as “upholding tradition” Who is responsible for the images each group represents?
5. Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera are each presented very differently in the book. What do you think of the portrayals? Does the author give away her own political bent through this treatment?
6. Morgan Llywelyn makes much reference to the widespread political apathy of many of the Irish people—of all classes—to the struggle for independence. Is this surprising? What does this say about human nature? About the leaders and followers of such revolutionary movements?
7. When the leadership of the Easter Uprising were caught and executed by the English, many Irish initially branded these leaders as brigands or traitors, yet soon after, they were hailed as heroes. Is this a common reaction, or is there something unique to Irish culture which influenced this seismic shift in public attitudes?
8.The American Revolution achieved independence from England in the 1770s, yet it took Ireland nearly 150 years longer to overthrow English rule. Was this American success merely a function of the great geographical distance, or were there other factors that allowed the English to retain Ireland under their sway?
9.The book makes reference to the non-violent independence moment in India under Gandhi. Could this nonmilitary avenue have proven successful in Ireland as well, or was violence the only path to freedom?
10. Does the book show the first stirrings of Feminism among the Irish revolutionaries? Contrast the revolutionary activities of the books courageous women involvement with the cloistered role of women under Irish familial tradition.
11.The Catholic Church takes quite a beating in the book, with many clergymen portrayed as weak-willed or pandering to the authorities. Do you believe this is a fair portrayal?