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New Biography of John Redmond Launched

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Article by From The Front Row © 7 November 2013.
Posted in Guest Blogs ().

john redmond the national leaderMerrion, an imprint of Irish Academic Press, is delighted to announce a major  biography of John Redmond, The National Leader, by Dermot Meleady. The book was launched by Kevin Myers at the Royal Irish Academy, on 6th November 2013.

The launch was also attended by Redmond’s surviving relatives, namely Dr. Mary Green and her brother John Green, the great-grandchildren of John Redmond who travelled from the UK.

Through exhaustive research into Redmond’s personal papers, Dermot Meleady has produced the definitive story of one of the most influential, yet in many ways tragic, figures of twentieth-century Irish political history.

This is the first comprehensive biography of John Redmond since 1932. Compiled over a decade’s research from a huge array of sources, including the personal papers of Redmond, Dillon, Herbert Asquith, Lloyd George and Edward Carson, Meleady analyses the years of Redmond’s leadership of the Home Rule Party from 1901 until his death in 1918. From hero and champion of Home Rule to outsider, villain and ultimately footnote – this is the story of one of the most overlooked and under-acknowledged figures in Irish political history.

The book includes previously unseen photographs from the Redmond family archive and newly discovered information which reveals the many opportunities for success which narrowly eluded Redmond’s political career. This study will resonate with readers familiar too with the extended
negotiations, missteps and trials of the recent peace process. Published to coincide with the centenary of the Government of Ireland Act 1914, this magisterial biography of John Redmond begins in 1901 shortly after his election as chairman of the Irish Parliamentary Party in Westminster. It details his reconstruction of the Party following the destructive decade-long Parnell split, and its
re-fashioning as a political weapon for winning Irish Home Rule. Meleady examines Redmond’s crucial role in the passage of the third Home Rule Bill, the paramount goal of Redmond’s endeavours. The events of the following turbulent five years – the increasingly militant resistance of
Ulster Unionism to Home Rule, the outbreak of the Great War and the unforeseen Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916, as much a blow against Home Rule as against British rule – cast him down from triumphant prime-minister-in-waiting to the status of Ireland’s lost leader.

Dermot Meleady is the author of Redmond: The Parnellite, the first volume of the biography of John Redmond, published in 2008 to great acclaim by the Irish Historical Society. He was born in Dublin in 1949 and studied Science at University College Dublin and History at
University of London.


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