Eamon de Valera is the most controversial figure in modern Irish history and as this book argues, the most misunderstood. `Dev' has been characterised as a stern, un-bending, devious and divisive politician, in scholarship and in popular culture. Here, Diarmaid Ferriter investigates the far more complex personal and public identities of the revolutionary fighter, Fianna Fail party founder, taoiseach (prime minister) and president who reimagined the state both literally, in its first constitution, and figuratively, offering a much mocked vision of Ireland as a pre-industrial, pastoral island. Ferriter presents an in-depth analysis of De Valera using previously unpublished letters, government documents and photographs to chronicle his long and remarkable career. One such letter contradicts the conventional wisdom that de Valera escaped execution in 1916 because of his American citizenship, offering the leader's personal account of events. Engagingly written and tactile to hold, Judging Dev won four prestigious Irish book awards and awakened a national conversation through a parallel RTE radio series and RIA exhibition. When an Irish taoiseach launched this book in 2007 it was fittingly said it would be `equally invaluable in classroom, in college and in the home'.
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