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Head of Zeus
We Don't Know Ourselves
We Don't Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Ireland Since 1958 by Fintan O'Toole

Fintan O'Toole – Ireland's leading public intellectual and author of Heroic Failure – tells a history of Ireland in his own time – a brilliant interweaving of memoir and historical narrative.

Fintan O'Toole was born in 1958, and so his life covers Ireland's journey out of underdevelopment and domination by the Church and the country's transformation into the relatively prosperous and tolerant society that it is today. But along the way there was a sectarian civil war in the North, which cast a dark shadow over the whole island, and bitter struggles for intellectual, civil and sexual freedoms. The Church fought a long rearguard action to defend its entrenched positions in education, healthcare and childcare. The truth about child abuse and institutional cruelty emerged only slowly, and women still had to die to make possible the liberalisation of Irish laws on contraception and divorce.

This is a very personal history by a writer who is considered by many to be the country's leading public intellectual. He was a participant in many of the controversies and and arguments of the past 35 years, and knew the leading literary, musical and political figures of those decades.

Head of Zeus * History
02 Sep 2021 * 400pp * £25 * 9781784978297

'Good journalists like Fintan O'Toole are the ones to look to if you want your lifelines to the contemporary reopened or the jump leads to your ethical sense connected up' Seamus Heaney.

'A witty attack on the fantasies that drove Brexit ... Clever, over the top, but etertaining political writing' The Times Books of the Year, on Heroic Failure.

'Fintan O'Toole in Heroic Failure displays an amazing command of the facts, but what distinguishes his book is the quality of the mind at work, the sharpness of the analysis, the style' Colm Tóibín.

'I loved the book. It's hugely entertaining and engrossing, and great fun too. I loved the link to punk – fascinating ... It's a terrific book' Roddy Doyle, on Heroic Failure.

'A wildy entertaining but uncomfortable read ... He has nailed us to the floor with a nine-inch nail'
 Jonathan Coe, on Heroic Failure
Fintan O'Toole
Fintan O'Toole
Fintan O'Toole is the author of Heroic Failure, Ship of Fools, A Traitor's Kiss, White Savage and other acclaimed books. He is a columnist for the Irish Times and the Milberg Professor of Irish Letters at Princeton University. He writes regularly for the Guardian, New York Review of Books, New York Times and other British and American journals.
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Penny Loaves and Butter Cheap: Britain In 1846
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Two Nations
1815: Regency Britain in the Year of Waterloo
Shooting Victoria
Isaac's Army
They Eat Horses, Don't They?
How We Invented Freedom & Why It Matters
Peace and War
Journey to Britannia
Magna Carta
The Year of Waterloo
Battle Royal
1916: The Mornings After
Providence Lost
So Great a Prince
The Twelve Apostles
The Lives of Tudor Women
The British Museum
The Hitler Years, Volume 1: Triumph 1933-1939
Heaven's Empires
The Book of Kells
Battle of the Four Courts
Progress Vs Parasites
The French Revolution
Hitler's Secret Bankers
The Crew
We Don't Know Ourselves
The Arms Crisis of 1970
Mountain Republic