Particularly I’m looking for what Irish dopers think of the series.
For those unfaniliar with her work - she writes historical fiction novels with a focus on Irish history. Her works on Brian Boru, Cuchulain and Finn MacCool are among my favorite books. Her Irish Century series (1916, 1921, *1949 * and now 1972) is also a favorite. I got the final book in the series for Christmas and I’m about 25% into it. I find that it’s excellent writing, and Llywelyn’s technique of using fictional characters to tell the story is outstanding. She sticks to the history and doesn’t embellish it to make it more dramatic but uses the subplots of her fictional characters to drive the story.
Irish history (20th century Irish history in particular) is a tough subject for most Americans, because so much of it depends on understanding Irish culture and subculture. Llywelyn’s technique seems to bridge the gap for me and really brings the history into perspective. With that in mind, I often wonder about how her perspective on Irish history matches up with that of today’s Irish people. She has an unapologetic bias for the Republicans, but I’m finding in 1972 that she takes great care to explain the point of view of the Northern Unionists and Loyalists (although with no love lost). At one point the IRA column commander says to his boys “Remember they’re Irish too, same as you or me.” I find that the series strikes a chord in me and fills me with Republican sympathy. I have as much admiration and affection, I think, for the heroes of the 1916 Rising as I have for the American heroes of Concord and Lexington.
So tell me Irish dopers, is this the way the books are received in the Ould Sod or is this just another case of a feckin’ American trying to be more Irish than the Irish?