Archive for August 3rd, 2010

Peter Hart (1963-2010)

3 August 2010

Contributed by Fearghal McGarry

The death of Peter Hart at the age of 46 has deprived Ireland of one of its finest scholars: it is difficult to think of anyone who contributed more to the historiography of the Irish revolution, or whose work on the subject had a greater public impact.

Peter wrote three major works during his short academic career, and he was close to finishing several more at the time of his death. His first, The I.R.A. and its Enemies: Violence and Community in Cork, 1916-23 (1998), remains one of the most important studies of the period. It is a testament to the intimidating breadth of Peter’s scholarship that his second book – a collection of essays entitled The I.R.A. at War (2003) which explored the themes of his local study on a broader canvas – also serves as one of the best undergraduate textbooks on the Irish revolution. Mick: The Real Michael Collins (2005) was written for a popular rather than scholarly market. Peter had a refreshingly North American attitude about this: he wanted to write books that people would buy in airport bookshops, and he believed that academics should be able to connect with a mass audience (notwithstanding the hostility that their research could generate).

What made Peter’s work original? In part, his status as an outsider. Read More