Posts Tagged ‘Tom Garvin’

Review: Judging Lemass

12 November 2009

Contributed by Bryce Evans

Judging LemassIn the midst of the present malaise in Irish politics and economics it’s tempting to look back to the Great Men of Irish history. Of these Great Men few are as celebrated as Seán Lemass, whose latest biographer is veteran UCD political scientist Tom Garvin. Launching Garvin’s Judging Lemass Brian Cowen staked a typically rodomontade claim to the Lemassian mantle by asserting that Lemass would back the current government’s economic strategy. As demonstrated by Cowen’s reversion to ‘What if?’ history – a dubious form of historical enquiry once dismissed by eminent historian E.P. Thompson as ‘unhistorical sh*t’ – the danger of all this celebrating of Great Men is that everyone tends to get a bit carried away. Lemass, as Garvin states in the book, was ‘not infallible’. This is about as close as the learned professor gets to any meaningful criticism of the authoritarian tendencies of the former Taoiseach though. Read more