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This is a comprehensive and scholarly study of socialist republicanism in independent Ireland between the wars. The 1934 Republican Congress movement exemplified the socialist republican stance, holding that 'a Republic of a united Ireland will never be achieved except through a struggle which uproots capitalism on its way'. In this carefully argued study, Richard English demonstrates that the contradictory analysis which characterized the republican left during these years explains its political failure. He explores the mentality which typified republicans during the formative years of independent Ireland, and shows how their solipsistic zealotry was simultaneously self-sustaining and self-defeating. Dr English examines the complex relationship between economics and nationalism in the Irish Free State and the way in which this relationship determined the policies and success of the dominant Fianna Fail party. Radicals and the Republic is an important book which unravels the politics of a significant Irish republican cult and illuminates our reading of the history of independent Ireland.
Richard English is joint editor of Prisoners: The Civil War Letters of Ernie O'Malley (Swords, Poolbeg Press, 1991). He lives in Belfast.