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Recommended Student Reading

 

General Reading on Adapting to a New Culture: 

 

Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication by Milton Bennett:

Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication is a collection of thirteen essays on a variety of cross-cultural topics, mostly those affecting people of different nationalities or speaking different languages.

http://www.amazon.com/Basic-Concepts-Intercultural-Communication-Selected/dp/1877864625

 

The Art of Crossing Cultures by Craig Storti

The Art of Crossing Cultures describes what it’s like to encounter another culture, to be thrown by it, and to make the adjustments necessary to succeed and feel at home in an overseas environment. In the book Craig Storti takes readers through the stages of cultural adjustment—from culture shock to successful adaptation—with numerous anecdotes from the world of business, diplomacy, and foreign aid.

http://www.amazon.com/Art-Crossing-Cultures-Craig-Storti/dp/0933662858

 

The Ugly American by William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick

The multi-million-copy bestseller that coined the phrase for tragic American blunders abroad. First published in 1958, The Ugly American became a runaway national bestseller for its slashing expos of American arrogance, incompetence, and corruption in Southeast Asia. Based on fact, the book’s eye-opening stories and sketches drew a devastating picture of how the United States was losing the struggle with Communism in Asia. Combining gripping storytelling with an urgent call to action, the book prompted President Eisenhower to launch a study of an existing American military aid program that led the way to much-needed reform.

http://www.amazon.com/Ugly-American-Eugene-Burdick/dp/0393318672

 

Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Cultural Diversity in Business by Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden Turner

As U.S. organizations continue to explore overseas business opportunities, they will be challenged to adapt to the new market’s local characteristics, legislation, fiscal regime, sociopolitical environment and cultural system. Riding the Waves of Culture shows international managers how to build the skills, sensitivity, and cultural awareness needed to establish and sustain management effectiveness across cultural borders. More than an encyclopedia of cultures and customs, this essential guide: describes successful and failed cross-cultural business transactions of multinational organizations such as AT&T, Heineken, Motorola and Volvo; offers techniques managers can use to anticipate and mediate some of the difficult dilemmas of international management; uses country-by-country graphs, examples, and other comparisons to illustrate how different cultures regard and respond to various management approaches.

http://www.amazon.com/Riding-Waves-Culture-Understanding-Diversity/dp/0786311258

 

 

Classic Irish Fiction:

 

The Dubliners by James Joyce

The Dubliners is a collection of fifteen short stories, first published in 1914. The fifteen stories were meant to be a naturalistic depiction of Irish middle class life in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century. Accessible and relevant, this book provides a great introduction to Joyce.

http://www.amazon.com/Dubliners-Twentieth-Century-Classics-James-Joyce/dp/0140186476

 

Ulysses by James Joyce

Ulysses, the great Modernist classic, is set in Dublin, Ireland, on June 16, 1904, a day distinguished by its utter normality. Two characters, Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, go about their separate business, crossing paths with a gallery of indelible Dubliners. The reader watches them teach, eat, stroll the streets, argue, etc… The book employs a stream-of-consciousness technique–which suggests no mere stream but an impossibly deep, swift-running river–we’re privy to their thoughts, emotions, and memories. The result? Almost every variety of human experience is crammed into the accordion folds of a single day, which makes Ulysses not just an experimental work but the very last word in realism.

http://www.amazon.com/Ulysses-James-Joyce/dp/0679722769

 

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

A satire on human nature and a parody of the “travellers’ tales” literary genre, this is widely considered Swift’s greatest work as well as one of the indisputable classics of English literature. Gulliver goes on four separate voyages: each journey is preceded by a storm. All four voyages bring new perspectives to Gulliver’s life and new opportunities for satirizing the ways of England.

http://www.amazon.com/Gullivers-Travels-Penguin-Classics-Jonathan/dp/0141439491

 

 

Plays:

 

The Playboy of the Western World by John M. Synge

The Playboy of the Western World caused riots during its opening week in Dublin in 1907. The play focuses on the reception given to Christy Mahon as he wanders into a small Irish village, declaring that he has just murdered his father. The villagers initially embrace Christy, determining that his courageous act has made him “the playboy of the western world.” Their vision of him, however, soon changes as the plot develops. In his depiction of the interaction between Christy and the villagers, and especially of the relationship between Christy and Pegeen Flaherty, an attractive, strong-willed, young local woman, Synge explores the effects of social conventions and celebrates the power of the imagination.

http://www.amazon.com/Playboy-Western-World-Other-Plays/dp/0451526511

 

Philadelphia Here I come! by Brian Friel

Philadelphia, Here I Come centres on a young Irishman, Gar O’Donnell, on the eve of his departure for Philadelphia. Gar is presented to the viewer as two individual characters, played by two different actors, representing his public and private selves. As the evening unfolds and through a series of flashbacks, memories and present action, the viewer learns of his conflicting feelings about leaving Ballybeg (his village in Ireland) which represents for him both that which he detests and that which he loves.

http://www.amazon.com/Philadelphia-Here-Come-Comedy-Three/dp/0571085865

 

Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel

Dancing at Lughnasa opens with a monologue by Michael, who introduces his nostalgic memories of the summer of 1936, when he was seven years old, when the five Mundy sisters, who raised him in rural Ireland, and had just acquired their first wireless radio. Their older brother, Michael’s Uncle Jack, had just returned from twenty-five years spent as a missionary in a leper colony in Uganda. Michael, the bastard child of the youngest sister is the narrator. The radio, which breaks down more than it works, unleashes unarticulated emotions in the five women, who spontaneously break into song and dance, with or without its aid. Friel’s play employs the central motif of dancing and music to explore themes of Irish cultural identity, nostalgia, historical change, and pagan ritual.

http://www.amazon.com/Dancing-at-Lughnasa-Brian-Friel/dp/0571144799

 

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

Waiting for Godot qualifies as one of Samuel Beckett’s most famous works. Originally written in French in 1948, Beckett personally translated the play into English. When it exploded onto the London stage 50 years ago, the play shocked as many people as it delighted. There had never been a play like it; two men clowning around, joking and arguing, repeating themselves, as they wait through one day and then another, waiting for the mysterious Godot. The combination of music hall, poetry and tension redefined what is possible in theatre, so that these days, Waiting for Godot is accepted as one of the most significant plays of the 20th century.

http://www.amazon.com/Waiting-Godot-Tragicomedy-Two-Acts/dp/0802130348

 

The Field by John B. Keane

The Field is perhaps John B. Keane’s best known play. This powerful play has ‘Bull’ McCabe as its central character. ‘The Bull’ is a tenant farmer with a ferocious temper and an obsession with the field he has been renting from a poor widow. After years of backbreaking toil, McCabe has transformed the field from three acres of rocky wasteland into a lush green pasture. But when the widow decides to put the property up for auction without considering his work, an outraged McCabe is determined to buy it at all costs. Unfortunately, there is another interested party, an English man whose plans for the field include paving it over and turning it into a cement block factory…

http://www.amazon.com/Field-John-B-Keane/dp/0853429766

 

 

Poetry:

 

New and Selected Poems by Seamus Heaney

This volume contains a selection of work from each of Seamus Heaney’s published books of poetry up to and including the Whitbread prize-winning collection, The Haw Lantern (1987). ‘His is ‘close-up’ poetry – close up to thought, to the world, to the emotions. Few writers at work today, in verse or fiction, can give the sense of rich, fecund, lived life that Heaney does.’ John Banville ‘More than any other poet since Wordsworth, he can make us understand that the outside world is not outside, but what we are made of.’ John Carey

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Selected-Poems-1966-1987-Seamus-Heaney/dp/0571143725

 

The Collected Poems by Patrick Kavanagh

Patrick Kavanagh’s imagery is drawn from the life of the Irish country poor and an inner landscape of pain and self-knowledge. His is a unique voice in modern lyrical poetry—ferociously independent, turns ironic, colloquial, and lyrical. Lucid, various, direct and engaging, Kavanagh’s poems have a unique place in the canon. This new edition, now available in paperback, is the culmination of many years of work by Antoinette Quinn in creating authoritative texts for Kavanagh’s work – from his early works such as ‘Inniskeen Road: July Evening’ to such major pieces as ‘The Great Hunger’.

http://www.amazon.com/Collected-Norton-Library-Patrick-Kavanagh/dp/0393006948

 

The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse edited by Thomas Kinsella

Selected by Thomas Kinsella, a renowned poet and translator, this anthology presents the Irish tradition as unity: verse in Irish and English, usually regarded separately, are shown as elements in a shared and often painful history. As the most wide-ranging anthology available–spanning from the pre-Christian era to the present day, the poems are grouped in three sections. Kinsella’s first selections are from the earliest pre-Christian times and move forward to the first poetry in English from the 14th century. Next comes Irish bardic poetry and English poetry in the era of Swift and Goldsmith. The final section brings us to the recent past and the present with 19th- and 20th-century poets from Davis, Mangan, Yeats, and Ferguson to Austin Clarke, Patrick Kavanagh, and Seamus Heaney.

http://www.amazon.com/Oxford-Book-Irish-Verse-Books/dp/0192801929

 

 The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats by William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats, whom many consider this century’s greatest poet, began as a bard of the Celtic Twilight, reviving legends and Rosicrucian symbols. By the early 1900s, however, he was moving away from plush romanticism, his verse morphing from the incantatory rhythms of “I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree” into lyrics “as cold and passionate as the dawn.” At every stage, however, Yeats plays a multiplicity of poetic roles. Yeats was to explore several more sides of himself, and of Ireland, before his Last Poems of 1938-39. Many are difficult, some snobbish, others occult and spiritualist. As Brendan Kennelly writes, Yeats “produces both poppycock and sublimity in verse, sometimes closely together.” At his best, Yeats extends the meaning of love poetry beyond the obviously romantic: love becomes a revolutionary emotion, attaching the poet to friends, history, and the passionate life of the mind.

http://www.amazon.com/Collected-Poems-W-B-Yeats/dp/0684807319/ref=pd_sim_b_4

 

 

Contemporary Irish Fiction:

 

A Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy

In this story of a friendship and love and loss, there are no lapses or lulls. Benny, plain daughter of a merchant, and Eve, a proud orphan raised by nuns, are close friends growing up in the Irish village of Knockglen in the 1950s. When they go to university in Dublin together, their loyalty is tested by the addition of others to their circle, most notably the beautiful, mysterious Nan, an ambitious young woman determined to rise above her working-class origins. While Nan seizes opportunities, friendships and romances are kindled and damped; ugly duckling Benny becomes a swan, and true love almost conquers all.

http://www.amazon.com/Circle-Friends-Maeve-Binchy/dp/0385341733/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280248053&sr=1-1

 

Trinity by Leon Uris

From the acclaimed author who enthralled the world with Exodus, Battle Cry, QB VII, Topaz, and other beloved classics of twentieth-century fiction comes a sweeping and powerful epic adventure that captures the “terrible beauty” of Ireland during its long and bloody struggle for freedom. It is the electrifying story of an idealistic young Catholic rebel and the valiant and beautiful Protestant girl who defied her heritage to join his cause. It is a tale of love and danger, of triumph at an unthinkable cost — a magnificent portrait of a people divided by class, faith, and prejudice — an unforgettable saga of the fires that devastated a majestic land . . . and the unquenchable flames that burn in the human heart.

http://www.amazon.com/Trinity-Leon-Uris/dp/0060827882/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280248162&sr=1-1

 

The Commitments by Roddy Doyle

“Dublin soul” is what the lads call it. Obsessed with James Brown, Percy Sledge and other rhythm-and-blues greats from across the ocean, young Jimmy Rabbitte organizes the “world’s hardest working band,” made up of fellow Dubliners, and sets out to teach the town a lesson about soul. This cheeky first novel by a Dublin native, punctuated with Irish obscenities and quotes from soul classics, informed by righteous working-class anger and youthful alienation, offers the entertaining and insightful chronicle of The Commitment’s rise and inevitable fall. In the process, impromptu sermons on the true meaning of soul are delivered in delightfully offhand fashion.

http://www.amazon.com/Commitments-Roddy-Doyle/dp/0679721746/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280248251&sr=1-1

 

The Snapper by Roddy Doyle

Doyle’s first novel, The Commitments told the story of Jimmy Rabbitte Jr.’s formation of Ireland’s first soul band and went on to become a popular film. This volume continues the saga of the Rabbitte family in the mythic working-class Dublin neighborhood of Barrytown. The Snapper concerns the unplanned pregnancy of the eldest daughter, delineating nine months of sparring between Sharon, who refuses to reveal the baby’s father, and Jimmy Sr., the clan’s vulgar, witty patriarch. Among its many other virtues, it offers a sensitive fictional narrative of pregnancy. Brilliantly constructed from the details of everyday life, both novels are made up almost entirely of dialog: sharp, crackling, relentless vernacular speech that never patronizes the characters. This is great comic writing that makes you laugh for pages yet keeps you aware that you could, instead, be crying.

http://www.amazon.com/Snapper-Roddy-Doyle/dp/0140171673/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280248354&sr=1-1

 

The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe

Francie Brady is a disaffected, working-class, Roman Catholic teenager living in Northern Ireland. His alcoholic father works in the local slaughterhouse and his mother, despite being a whir of household efficiency, is suicidal. The latest phase of the “troubles” in Ireland have not yet formally begun–it is the early ’60s–but Francie is nonetheless caught in a cycle of pride, envy and poverty aggravated by the ancient conflict between Protestants and Catholics. The book opens with Francie remembering: “When I was a young lad twenty or thirty or forty years ago I lived in a small town where they were after me on account of what I done on Mrs Nugent.” By its end, young Francie has dispatched Mrs Nugent and earned his eponymous nickname. The Nugents, a prosperous Protestant family, have it all, in Francie’s eyes: their son Philip goes to private school and takes music lessons; their home is carpeted and the telly works. Francie begins by playing pranks on the family–swindling Philip out of his comic books, defecating in their house when they are away. But when he bludgeons Philip’s brother in a fight, Francie loses his closest friend, who then befriends the Nugent family. Then the violence escalates.

http://www.amazon.com/Butcher-Boy-Patrick-McCabe/dp/0385312377/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280249747&sr=1-1

 

The Collected Stories by William Trevor

This collection includes tales from the award-winning author’s seven previous books of short stories, as well as four that have never appeared in paperback form in America. Startling, funny, compassionate, and profound, Trevor’s stories engage and provoke as only the best fiction can.

http://www.amazon.com/William-Trevor-Collected-Stories/dp/0140232451/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280250048&sr=1-1

 

The Heather Blazing by Colm Tóibín

Scholarly, aloof Eamon Redmond became a judge in Dublin’s high court at a relatively young age after a lonely childhood. His meticulously constructed judgments adhere so strictly to the letter of the law that room for appeal is impossible. But what of compassion? Why do his wife and children turn their backs on his decisions? This novel is more a character study than the action-packed tale suggested by the title. The narrative leapfrogs from past to present as Redmond, the motherless boy, plods along with his father, listening to tales of earlier uprisings. His happiest times, as both man and boy, come when he is swimming or walking along the southern Irish coast. When his wife of many years dies and he is truly alone, solitude is no longer the prize he once sought.

http://www.amazon.com/Heather-Blazing-Spanish-Colm-Toibin/dp/0330321250/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280250149&sr=1-1

 

Capital Sins by Peter Cunningham

Ireland: 2006. Financial hysteria grips the nation. No one can speak of anything but the price of property – it is impossible not to make money. Developers gorge on massive loans. Bankers, egged on by politicians, trample over each other in the stampede to lend more and more. Millionaires are created every day as the stock market soars and Ireland audaciously becomes one of the world’s wealthiest nations. But at the heart of this unholy multi-billion euro alliance between developers, politicians and bankers lies a hideous truth: the whole empire is built on sand. Two men face each other over the dark divide. One, Albert Barr, a developer, has everything to lose; the other, Lee Carew, a struggling journalist, suddenly realises that he has stumbled upon the story of a lifetime. And for the bankers, the developers and Ireland’s Celtic Tiger, time is rapidly running out. With devastating accuracy and savage humour, Peter Cunningham’s novel tells the story of the final year of the Celtic Tiger as it has never been told before.

http://www.amazon.com/Capital-Sins-Peter-Cunningham/dp/1848400713/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280250430&sr=1-1-spell

 

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

The latest from Barry pits two contradictory narratives against each other in an attempt to solve the mystery of a 100-year-old mental patient. That patient, Roseanne McNulty, decides to undertake an autobiography and writes of an ill-fated childhood spent with her father, Joe Clear. A cemetery superintendent, Joe is drawn into Ireland’s 1922 civil war when a group of irregulars brings a slain comrade to the cemetery and are discovered by a division of Free-Staters. Meanwhile, Roseanne’s psychiatrist, Dr. Grene, investigating Roseanne’s original commitment in preparation for her transfer to a new hospital, discovers through the papers of the local parish priest, Fr. Gaunt, that Roseanne’s father was actually a police sergeant in the Royal Irish Constabulary. The mysteries multiply when Roseanne reveals that Fr. Gaunt annulled her marriage after glimpsing her in the company of another man; Gaunt’s official charge was nymphomania, and the cumulative fallout led to a string of tragedies. Written in captivating, lyrical prose, Barry’s novel is both a sparkling literary puzzle and a stark cautionary tale of corrupted power.

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Scripture-The-ebook/dp/B002RI90A4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=A2HD1FRBBEUS3N&s=generic&qid=1280250583&sr=1-1

 

Star of the Sea by Joseph O’Connor

Joseph O’Connor’s impressive historical novel, Star of the Sea, examines the unsettled personal tragedies among a group of interrelated characters and their difficulties in disregarding the past. Lord Merridith and his family board the titular ship in 1847, bound for New York, leaving behind an Ireland devastated by famine and strife. The family’s beautiful nanny, Mary Duane, is with them, having fled a life of poverty, prostitution, and extreme tragedy. Another passenger, American journalist Grantley Dixon, is lured to America by business and his thinly veiled affair with Lady Merridith. Mary Duane discovers that Pius Mulvey, her former fiancé and the brother of her deceased husband, is among the overcrowded group of disease-ridden steerage passengers. A renowned thief and murderer, Mulvey abandoned Duane, only to return and sabotage her life in Ireland. Despised by his countrymen, Mulvey has been ordered by a group of steerage thugs to assassinate the demonized Merridith or face his own death. Conflict is inevitable, but O’Connor is more interested in the complexity of history and relationships and how each makes reinvention and resolution impossible. O’Connor presents the story as a work of journalism written by Dixon, composed in the era’s tabloid style, even including passages from the captain’s register and crew interviews. These devices lend the work a sense of authenticity, reinforced by the author’s intimate knowledge of the period and his evocative, realistic prose.

http://www.amazon.com/Star-Sea-Joseph-OConnor/dp/0156029669/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280252034&sr=8-1-catcorr

 

There Are Little Kingdoms by Kevin Barry

Reading Kevin Barry’s collection is like finding a shiny two-pound coin in a pile of muck. It brings unexpected pleasure. Not just because he gives you priceless glimpses into the lives of individuals in a small Irish setting, but also because it’s one of these collections you literally cannot finish in one sitting. The characters in Barry’s collection comprise, inter alia, a young buckaroo at the top of his billiard game, two fast girls looking for trouble, a lonesome hill walker, an amnesiac, a genie with wry humor, a gigantic taxi-driver, an antique collector, a contemptuous air steward. Barry’s power of description is awe-inspiring. Nothing soporific about it. It’s not sentimental, but it contains lushness. It makes you believe there are little kingdoms invisible to the eye.

http://www.amazon.com/There-Are-Little-Kingdoms-Stories/dp/0955015294/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280252242&sr=1-1

 

The Gathering by Anne Enright

Pretty early on in The Gathering you realize that in her lingering portrait of the Hegarty clan (and this isn’t hyperbole–they are a family of 12), Irish novelist Anne Enright will wrestle with all the giant literary tropes that have come before her. Family, of course, is the big one, but with equal intensity she explores death and dying, the sea and its siren song, sex, shame, secrecy, unreliable memories, madness, “the drink,” and–always in the shadows–England. That said, it’s not like any other novel about the Irish. The story of the Hegartys is indeed bleak, and hard, but it surges with tenderness and eloquent thought which, in the end, are the very things that help this family (or at least her narrator Veronica) survive. Through her eyes, and in Enright’s skillful imagination, those small turning-point moments of life that we all know in some form or another–a petty fight, a careless word, an event witnessed–come together in an unshakeable vision of how you become the person you are.

http://www.amazon.com/Gathering-Novel-Anne-Enright/dp/0802118739/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280252529&sr=1-1

 

The Truth Commissioner by David Park

In this wrenching what-if exercise, Irish author Park (Oranges from Spain) invents a fictional truth and reconciliation commission (modelled on South Africa’s real one) that aims to heal Northern Ireland’s troubled past. Three men, all called to testify, have held close the truth about 15-year-old Catholic lad Connor Walshe’s disappearance in 1990, after he was found to be a hapless informer against the IRA. Fifteen years later, former IRA leader Francis Gilroy is now the minister of children and culture; former Royal Ulster Constabulary officer James Fenton, who recruited Connor, is a restlessly retired inconvenient legacy of the past; and Michael Madden, then an 18-year-old IRA runner, has been brought back from America to recount his role in Connor’s fate. Overseeing the hearings is Henry Stanfield, burdened by the unleashed emotions and uncomfortably estranged from his pregnant daughter, who is a friend of Connor’s sister. Park’s soulful story about buried secrets, tangled lies and manipulated memories may be a little abstract for readers who didn’t follow the Troubles, but this powerful fiction both humanizes and universalizes the civil war that gripped Ireland for so long.

http://www.amazon.com/Truth-Commissioner-David-Park/dp/0747596336/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280254635&sr=1-1

 

Memoirs, Biographies and Autobiographies:

 

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

Frank McCourt’s haunting memoir takes on new life when the author reads from his Pulitzer Prize-winning book. Recounting scenes from his childhood in New York City and Limerick, Ireland, McCourt paints a brutal yet poignant picture of his early days when there was rarely enough food on the table, and boots and coats were a luxury. In a melodic Irish voice that often lends a gentle humor to the unimaginable, the author remembers his wayward yet adoring father who was forever drinking what little money the family had. He recounts the painful loss of his siblings to avoidable sickness and hunger, a proud mother reduced to begging for charity, and the stench of the sewage-strewn streets that ran outside the front door. As McCourt approaches adolescence, he discovers the shame of poverty and the beauty of Shakespeare, the mystery of sex and the unforgiving power of the Irish Catholic Church. This powerful and heart-rending testament to the resiliency and determination of youth is populated with memorable characters and moments, and McCourt’s interpretation of the narrative and the voices it contains will leave listeners laughing through their tears.

http://www.amazon.com/Angelas-Ashes-Memoir-Frank-McCourt/dp/068484267X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280247906&sr=1-1

 

 Are You Somebody? by Nuala O’Faolain

Irish Times columnist O’Faolain seeks to understand the events of her life by baring her soul to the world in a memoir of her experiences with love and loneliness and her journey of self-discovery. This autobiography is unlike most others in that O’Faolain’s frank and open examination speaks to both American and European audiences. Transcending her rural Irish childhood (one of nine children, an alcoholic mother, and a philandering father), she tries to find purpose through reading, education, and a career rather than the traditional life of wife and mother. Despite winning scholarships to University College, Dublin; the University of Hull; and, finally, Oxford University, she drifts in and out of relationships, believing that her salvation will come with marriage and motherhood. We travel with her through the intellectual scene in Dublin during the 1950s and the yet traditional Oxford of the 1960s, against the backdrop of the rising feminist movement. O’Faolain is simply swept along, asserting herself but not really knowing why or to what end. Alcoholism and depression take their toll, but she fights her way back. The author speaks of events and predicaments that are universal: the need for purpose in life; the search for satisfaction; and the desire we all have to be somebody.

http://www.amazon.com/Are-You-Somebody-Accidental-Memoir/dp/080508987X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280309590&sr=8-1

 

The Secret World of the Irish Male by Joesph O’Connor

Written by Joseph O’Connor, elder brother of the famous – and sometimes infamous – Sinead, this is a collection that, for the most part, has been previously published by (among others), The Sunday Tribune and Esquire magazine. These stories show him to be funny, self-deprecating, witty, sarcastic, sensitive and political all in one. ‘The Secret World of the Irish Male’ has a broad appeal, especially, to anyone who experienced 1980s Ireland as a young adult. The stories contained are a snapshot of a time when emigration was not so much a career option, as your only option…

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-World-Irish-Male/dp/1848400241/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280311151&sr=1-1-spell

 

The Speckled People by Hugo Hamilton

The son of a German mother and an Irish father, Hugo Hamilton grew up in Dublin in the 1950s wearing “lederhosen and Aran sweaters, smelling of rough wool and new leather, Irish on top and German below.” His family spoke both German and Irish, but English was strictly forbidden–even uttering a few words of the cursed language was enough to earn an often brutal punishment from their father, a staunch Irish nationalist. His father maintained that “your home is your language” and insisted that they be a model Irish family and an example for others to follow. Hamilton and his siblings were not even permitted to play with children who did not speak Irish exclusively–a particular problem in a country where English is the primary language. Ironically, he was taunted mercilessly for his German heritage and children jeered him with cries of “Eichmann” and “Heil Hitler.” He was even put on “trial” once by a gang of kids who sentenced him death by snowball firing squad. This confusing quest to discover his identity and to gain an understanding of his family history is at the heart of The Speckled People, a profoundly touching and beautifully written memoir.

http://www.amazon.com/Speckled-People-Memoir-Half-Irish-Childhood/dp/0007156634/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280311576&sr=1-1

 

The Last of the Donkey Pilgrims by Kevin O’Hara

Kevin O’Hara was a man who was at the crossroads of life. Newly married to a beautiful woman, Kevin found himself full of rage and pain. A former soldier, he had seen the horrors of war and was unable to let those sorrows go. In desperation Kevin traveled to Ireland, the land of his people, to seek some sort of balm for his pain. It was there, amid the impossibly green fields, open skies, and glad hearts of his friends and relatives that Kevin began to see the possibilities of joy again. And it was there that he formed a wonderfully daft plan. The age-old method of traveling by donkey cart was beginning to disappear from the Irish countryside as modern life crowded in. What better way, Kevin thought, to experience the beauty of Ireland than to travel the length of the land in the old way—man and donkey, drinking in the sights and sounds of the country. Among the Irish, opinion was divided as to whether Kevin was a madman or a saint. Bets were made, and most of the locals near his grandmother’s farmhouse predicted that this strange American wouldn’t even get out of the county, much less circle the entire island. Along the way Kevin would meet some incredible characters, endure hardships, and find the Irish in all their glory. And he would find himself.

http://www.amazon.com/Last-Donkey-Pilgrims-Kevin-OHara/dp/076530984X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280311750&sr=1-1

 

Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks

On his only prior visit to Ireland, English songwriter-comic Tony Hawks had seen a man hitchhiking with a refrigerator. For years, he was wont to tell the tale during late-night drinking matches, and after one particularly heavy-duty night of partying, he awoke to find a bet scrawled pillow side: a friend wagered 100 pounds that Hawks wouldn’t travel Ireland for a month with a refrigerator at his side. Out of this stupid premise, a ridiculously amusing book was born. Quickly discovered by the Irish media, the thumbing Englishman finds that he and his box fridge are elevated to celebrity status, and there’s no dearth of rides, places to stay, or goofy people to meet, from kings to spoons players to locals who take his fridge surfing. As insightful about the strange inner workings of Hawk’s mind as it is about charming peculiarities of Irishmen–it’s doubtful that Hawks would have been similarly embraced by Germans, Italians, or the French–Round Ireland with a Fridge is an entirely silly, heartwarming tale told in a rollicking funny and refreshing style.

http://www.amazon.com/Round-Ireland-Fridge-Tony-Hawks/dp/0312274920/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280312068&sr=1-1

 

 

Rural Life/Environmentalism:

 

Connemara: Listening to the Wind by Tim Robinson

In 1999, Tim Robinson established himself as one of Ireland’s most brilliant nonfiction writers with the two-volume Stones of Aran, a tribute to the unspoiled wild of Ireland’s Aran Islands. With Connemara, he creates an indelible portrait of a small corner of the world. From the unmarked graves of unbaptized infants to the shimmering peaks of the Twelve Pins, Robinson brings his close attention and dazzling prose to describe the mountains, bogs, shorelines, and landscape of his home and, at the same time, make a great statement about the world at large.

 http://www.amazon.com/Connemara-Listening-Wind-Trilogy/dp/1844880664

 

The Parish by Alice Taylor

In a series of vignettes of life in her own village, Alice Taylor reasserts the priorities of public space and social community. The Parish evokes and explores the positive values of community, values that could be renewed and reinvigorated in a present and future that achieves harmony between relative affluence and the pressing need to respect the environment.

http://www.amazon.com/Parish-Alice-Taylor/dp/0863223974/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280314752&sr=1-1

 

The Islandman by Tomas O’Crohan

Tomas O’Crohan’s sole purpose in writing The Islandman was: “to set down the character of the people about me so that some record of us might live after us, for the like of us will never be seen again.” This is an absorbing narrative of a now-vanished way of life, written by one who had known no other. This book paints a picture of a life now extinct, which at once provides the reader with an insight into rural life on the Irish speaking Blasket islands and knowledge of what it means to be Irish in O’Crohan’s day. Originally written in Irish and translated to English, Tomas O’Crohan’s prose is powerful and vivid and has rightfully earned The Islandman its place in the Irish language canon.

http://www.amazon.com/Islandman-Oxford-Paperbacks-Tom%C3%A1s-OCrohan/dp/0192812335/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280315163&sr=1-1

 

Irish History:

 

How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill

In this delightful and illuminating look into a crucial but little-known “hinge” of history, Thomas Cahill takes us to the “island of saints and scholars,” the Ireland of St. Patrick and the Book of Kells. Here, far from the barbarian despoliation of the continent, monks and scribes laboriously, lovingly, even playfully preserved the West’s written treasury. When stability returned in Europe, these Irish scholars were instrumental in spreading learning, becoming not only the conservators of civilization, but also the shapers of the medieval mind, putting their unique stamp on Western culture.

http://www.amazon.com/Irish-Saved-Civilization-Hinges-History/dp/0385418493/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280315751&sr=1-1

 

Ireland 1912-1985 by J.J. Lee

This is the first major study on this scale of Irish performance, North and South, in the twentieth century. Although stressing the primacy of politics in Irish public affairs, it argues that Irish politics must be understood in the broad context of economic, social, administrative, cultural, and intellectual history. The book fully explores the relationship between rhetoric and reality in the Irish mind and views political behavior largely as a product of collective psychology. “The Irish experience” is placed firmly in a comparative context. The book seeks to assess the relative importance of British influence and of indigenous impulses in shaping an independent Ireland, and to identify the relationship between personality and process in determining Irish history. Particularly close attention is paid to individuals such as Eamon de Valera, Michael Collins, W.T. Cosgrove, Sir James Craig, J.J. McElligott, Sean Lemass, Terence O’Neill, and Ian Paisley, and to the limits within which even the most powerful personalities were forced to operate.

http://www.amazon.com/Ireland-1912-1985-Politics-Joseph-Lee/dp/0521377412/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280315839&sr=1-1

 

Dublin, Tenement Life: An Oral History by Kevin C. Kearns

In Dublin Tenement Life, historian Kevin C. Kearns presents a fascinating, often heartbreaking look at life in the slums of Dublin from the early nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. Gathering original and authentic oral testimonies from survivors of the old Dublin tenements and presenting along with the social and historical background, as well as a valuable collection of photographs, Kearns shows what life was like in Europe’s most wretched slums. Their accounts are sometimes tragic, but always moving. Equally, they are an inspiring chronicle of struggle, survival, and the triumph of the human spirit.

http://www.amazon.com/Dublin-Tenement-Life-Oral-History/dp/0140296255/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280315918&sr=1-1-spell

 

Judging Dev by Diarmaid Ferriter

Eamon de Valera has often been characterized as a stern, un-bending, devious and divisive Irish politician. But how valid is this caricature? In “Judging Dev”, Diarmaid Ferriter re-examines de Valera’s life and legacy. It contains an in-depth analysis of the impact of de Valera and includes many previously unpublished key letters, documents and photographs from the National Archives of Ireland and the UCD Archives to chronicle the extraordinary career of the most significant politician of modern Irish history and his role in the history of the Irish state.

http://www.amazon.com/Judging-Dev-Reassessment-Legacy-Valera/dp/1904890288/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280315996&sr=1-1

 

 

Politics:

 

Northern Ireland: the Politics of War and Peace by Paul Dixon

Clearly and accessibly written and based on original research, Paul Dixon’s book provides a lively introduction to the nature and politics of the Northern Ireland conflict and of successive attempts to resolve it. The comprehensively revised second edition has been updated to take account of new information throughout and an entirely new chapter has been added on implementing the Good Friday Agreement.

http://www.amazon.com/Northern-Ireland-Politics-War-Peace/dp/0230507794/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280316075&sr=1-3

 

Politics in the Republic of Ireland by John Coakley, Michael Gallagher

Politics in the Republic of Ireland is now available in a fully revised fifth edition. Building on the success of the previous four editions, it continues to provide an authoritative introduction to all aspects of politics in the Republic of Ireland. Written by some of the foremost experts on Irish politics, it explains, analyzes and interprets the background to Irish government and contemporary political processes. Bringing students up to date with the very latest developments, Coakley and Gallagher combine real substance with a highly readable style, providing an accessible textbook that meets the needs of all those who are interested in knowing how politics and government operate in Ireland.

http://www.amazon.com/Politics-Republic-Ireland-5th-ed/dp/0415476720/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280316161&sr=1-1

 

 A Secret History of the IRA by Ed Moloney

An award-winning journalist and former Northern Editor of the Irish Times and Sunday Tribune, Moloney describes the delicate political maneuvering of Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams, which compelled the Provisional Irish Republican Army ultimately to accept what their constitution explicitly forbade: a cease-fire in the fight to unify Ireland. Airing details of IRA political infighting for the first time, Moloney grants the lion’s share of credit for the growing peace to Adams. Adams is the master insider, politician, and statesman who manipulated violence and the promise of peace in negotiations with England, Ireland, Ulster, and, to a lesser degree, America. By creating an internal bureaucracy that produced volumes of reports, more than the Army Council could digest; Adams kept control of the laborious negotiations. His greatest challenge, and success, was keeping the rank-and-file IRA in the dark about precisely what he was doing and how, working toward the cease-fire. The final push was the 9/11 attack, when the IRA dumped its weapons for fear of being lumped politically with al Qaeda by the Bush administration.

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-History-IRA-Ed-Moloney/dp/0393325024/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280316238&sr=1-1

 

Ten Men Dead by David Beresford

Taken inside infamous Long Kesh prison in Belfast, the reader of this searing journal experiences the emotional stranglehold that the legacy of troubled Ireland has on 10 men who in 1981 chose to perish in a hunger strike. Written by a reporter who covered the story for The Guardian, the book is shaped around secret communications, scraps of cigarette paper which the prisoners wrote on and concealed in bodily orifices until the messages could be smuggled outside to the IRA leadership. These “comms” are intimate, meticulous records of the men who went first “on the blanket” in naked protest, then to their self-scheduled deaths. We see and hear the families, alike and yet different in their grief; the churchmen and political leaders in attempts to dissuade and negotiate; and “Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher, resolute in the grim battle of wills. In the final compelling words of Beresford, “They died for a cause more ancient than the gray walls of Long Kesh prison.”

http://www.amazon.com/Ten-Men-Dead-Hunger-Strike/dp/087113702X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280319082&sr=1-1

 

 

Business/Economics and Finance:

The Economy of Ireland edited by J.W. O’Hagan

This book provides an account of the main features, performance and associated policy issues of the economy of Ireland in the 1990s. The book opens with an extensive chapter outlining the historical development of the Irish economy from the seventeenth century to the present day. Part 1 then examines the issue of choosing, defining and measuring policy objectives for the economy. Part 2 explores the role and performance of the government in policy implementation, focusing in particular on public expenditure, social partnership arrangements, regulation, taxation, and fiscal and monetary policy. Part 3 looks at the overall performance of the economy, in terms of economic growth, employment and unemployment, trade and exchange rate policy, with special reference to the EU dimension. Part 4 examines the Irish government’s policy towards the different sectors of the economy (agricultural, manufacturing and services sectors) and its relation with EU policy. The central role of competitiveness and competition policy for all sectors of the economy is emphasized. The book includes numerous statistical tables and charts, as well as a comprehensive bibliography

http://www.amazon.com/Economy-Ireland-Performance-European-Country/dp/0312158238/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1280319838&sr=1-1-fkmr0#_

 

The Bankers by Shane Ross

Two years ago, the Irish economy was still booming and the state coffers overflowing; now, the country faces an unprecedented crisis. The story of how we got from there to here is a tawdry tale of collusion, back-scratching and denial among bankers, developers, regulators and politicians. This is the story Shane Ross – independent Senator, long-time champion of citizens against misbehaving corporations, and Journalist of the Year 2009 – tells in “The Bankers”, going behind the scenes and the headlines to explain what happened, how it happened and who made it happen. They’re all here: Sean FitzPatrick, Michael Fingleton and the other bank bosses; Patrick Neary and his colleagues in Ireland’s failed regulatory apparatus; the property developers, whose borrowings ruined the banks, and many of whom are now personally ruined; and, the politicians, whose policies helped inflate the property bubble and who have allowed the banks to dictate the terms of their bail-out. Shane Ross knows the stories of these people and what they got up to, and in “The Bankers” he makes sense of a scandal that will haunt Ireland for years to come.

http://www.amazon.com/Bankers-Banks-Brought-Ireland-Knees/dp/0141044446/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280319981&sr=1-1

 

Inside the Celtic Tiger, the Irish Economy and the Asian Model by Denis O’Hearn

One of the poorest states in the European Union during the 1980s, Ireland’s economy has grown rapidly in the 1990s, despite an overwhelming dependence on foreign capital. Echoing the “tiger” economies of East Asia, this has led many to dub Ireland “the Celtic Tiger.”In this original critique by one of Ireland’s leading writers on economics, Denis O’Hearn sets Ireland’s economic success in an international context and contrasts and compares its growth with the other “tiger” economies. O’Hearn addresses some difficult but crucial questions, such as whether Ireland’s apparent success is self-sustaining and what lessons can be learned from the downturn of the comparable East Asian economies. The study focuses on the importance of three US-led industrial sectors — computers, electrical engineering and pharmaceuticals — for Ireland’s rising economy. O’Hearn assesses who benefits and who loses from such foreign capital-led growth — in the context of working conditions, poverty, consumption and inequality — and argues that the country’s apparently significant economic achievements are dominated by growth in corporate profits and professional incomes, but that there is no evidence, as yet, of “trickle-down” to other sectors

http://www.amazon.com/Inside-Celtic-Tiger-Economy-Contemporary/dp/0745312837/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280320051&sr=1-1

 

After the Celtic Tiger: Challenges Ahead by Peter Clinch, Frank Convery and Brendan Walsh

In the final years of the twentieth century Ireland was the economic wonder of the western world. The economy is now in transition and things have changed dramatically, especially in the light of September 11th. This book explains why Ireland has made such startling progress and identifies the policies which will help in our changing circumstances and carry us through into a bright future. It examines: the Irish economic policy and its performance; the effect and challenges of globalization; environmental damage and climate change; and, social issues, such as housing, traffic, immigration. From a background in economics, and with internationally recognized expertise, these three authors look at the current crisis and at the big quality of life issues which interest every human being.

http://www.amazon.com/After-Celtic-Tiger-Challenges-Ahead/dp/086278767X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280320178&sr=1-1

 

The Pope’s Children by David McWilliams

Named for the ironic coincidence of the Irish baby boom of the 1970s, which peaked nine months to the day after Pope John Paul II s historic visit to Dublin, The Pope s Children is both a celebration and bitingly funny portrait of the first generation of the Celtic Tiger the beneficiaries of the economic miracle that propelled Ireland from centuries of deprivation into a nation that now enjoys one of the highest living standards in the world. “Brilliant, eminently readable…indispensable for those who want to understand how Ireland went from being one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the richest…” (The Boston Globe, March 17, 2008)

http://www.amazon.com/Popes-Children-Economic-Triumph-Irelands/dp/0470226412/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1280320258&sr=1-1

 

Ship of fools: how stupidity and corruption killed the Celtic Tiger by Fintan O’Toole

Between 1995 and 2007, the Republic of Ireland was the worldwide model of successful adaptation to economic globalization. The success story was phenomenal: a doubling of the workforce; a massive growth in exports; a GDP that was substantially above the EU average. Ireland became the world’s largest exporter of software and manufactured the world’s supply of Viagra. The factors that made it possible for Ireland to become prosperous – progressive social change, solidarity, major State investment in education, and the critical role of the EU – were largely ignored as too sharply at odds with the dominant free market ideology. The Irish boom was shaped instead into a simplistic moral tale of the little country that discovered low taxes and small government and prospered as a result. There were two big problems. Ireland acquired a hyper-capitalist economy on the back of a corrupt, dysfunctional political system. And the business class saw the influx of wealth as an opportunity to make money out of property. Aided by corrupt planning and funded by poorly regulated banks, an unsustainable property-led boom gradually consumed the Celtic Tiger. This is, as Fintan O’Toole writes, ‘a good old-fashioned jeremiad about the bastards who got us into this mess’. It is an entertaining, passionate story of one of the most ignominious economic reversals in recent history.

http://www.amazon.com/Ship-Fools-Stupidity-Corruption-Celtic/dp/1586488813/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1280320470&sr=1-1-fkmr0

 

The Builders by Frank McDonald and Kathy Sheridan

In the past fifteen years, Ireland has gone from being one of the poorest countries in the EU to one of the richest in the world. Of all the factors in this extraordinary transformation, none has been more prominent than the astonishing boom in construction. The transformation was created by a relatively small number of men, mostly from humble rural backgrounds. In The Builders, Frank McDonald and Kathy Sheridan tell the stories of these men, of the local and national governments that have helped them, and of the changes – physical and psychological – they have brought about. They also go behind the facades of these secretive men, explaining what drives them and what they do with their vast wealth. The story of Ireland’s property developers has been the great untold story of the country’s growth – until now.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Builders-ebook/dp/B002XHNNMK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=A2HD1FRBBEUS3N&s=books&qid=1280320566&sr=1-1

 
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