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We Don't Know Ourselves

Audiobook
Nonfiction: History
Unabridged   22 hour(s)
Publication date: 03/15/2022

NEW! Now Available
Winner 2021 An Post Irish Book Award

We Don't Know Ourselves

A Personal History of Modern Ireland

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Digital Download ISBN:9781696607452

Summary

A celebrated Irish writer's magisterial, brilliantly insightful chronicle of the wrenching transformations that dragged his homeland into the modern world.

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Product Description

In We Don't Know Ourselves, Fintan O'Toole weaves his own experiences into Irish social, cultural, and economic change, showing how Ireland, in just one lifetime, has gone from a reactionary "backwater" to an almost totally open society—perhaps the most astonishing national transformation in modern history.

Born to a working-class family in the Dublin suburbs, O'Toole served as an altar boy and attended a Christian Brothers school. He was enthralled by American Westerns suddenly appearing on Irish television, which were not that far from his own experience, given that Ireland's main export was beef and it was still not unknown for herds of cattle to clatter down Dublin's streets. Yet the Westerns were a sign of what was to come. O'Toole narrates the once unthinkable collapse of the all-powerful Catholic Church, brought down by scandal and by the activism of ordinary Irish, women in particular. He relates the horrific violence of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, which led most Irish to reject violent nationalism. In O'Toole's telling, America became a lodestar, from John F. Kennedy's 1963 visit, when the American president was welcomed as a native son, to the emergence of the Irish technology sector in the late 1990s, driven by American corporations, which set Ireland on the path toward particular disaster during the 2008 financial crisis.

Reviews/Praise

"[S]parkling . . . we encounter O’Toole as a Zelig-like figure with an amusingly personal chain of connections to the great events and characters . . . the quiet heroes of We Don’t Know Ourselvesare the Irish people, who O’Toole shows to have been ahead of their political and spiritual leaders in being ready to face the contradictions that underpinned national life . . . an uplifting, almost playful read, with suggestive analysis lying beneath skillful vignettes." ― Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid, Financial Times

Author Bio

Fintan O'Toole is a columnist for the Irish Times and a professor at Princeton University. A regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and the Guardian and the author of several books, he lives in Princeton, New Jersey, and Dublin, Ireland.