From about 1970, Irish history moved into a fast-forward phase. Roy Foster's new book looks at the roots of the changes which came with an almost completely unexpected wave of prosperity. With sympathy, astringency and humour, he examines the upheavals in economics, North-South attitudes, international relations, demography, gender roles, sexual mores, culture and religion which accompanied the boom, as well as the significance of such emblematic characters as Mary Robinson, Bob Geldof and Charles Haughey. "Luck and the Irish" also discusses the themes of corruption, scandal, New Age Celticism, popular culture and the occasional retreat into reactionary attitudes that followed the liberalization, enrichment and marketing of the New Ireland: and what these transformations mean for Irish history in the long run.
R. F. Foster is Carroll Professor of Irish History at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford. His books include Modern Ireland, 1600-1972, The Irish Story and W. B. Yeats: A Life.