ROBERT SAVAGE is Associate Professor of the Practice of History at Boston College. His 2010 book A Loss on Innocence? Television and Irish Society won the 2010 James S. Donnelly, Sr. Prize for Best Book in History and Social Sciences from the American Conference for Irish Studies. His new book, The BBC's Irish Troubles: Television, Conflict and Northern Ireland will be published in the spring of 2015.
Sean Lemass is generally regarded as the man most responsible for the modernisation of Irish society. This book considers how Lemass evolved as a key figure in Fianna Fail governments and later to become one of the most influential leaders of twentieth-century Ireland. Professor Savage argues that by the time Lemass emerged out of the shadow of Eamon de Valera he had learned valuable lessons concerning the limitations of political power. By 1959 Lemass understood that principle sometimes had to be compromised to ensure the maintenance of political power. This short biography uses a wide array of resources to consider the policies he initiated during his long political career. It also addresses the relationships he developed with a number of institutions including the Government of Northern Ireland and the Catholic Church. This study considers how Lemass grappled with four critical issues during his tenure as Taoiseach. It explores how he tried to advance Ireland's moribund economy, and improve problematic relations with Northern Ireland, the British Government and the Catholic Church.What emerges is a portrait of a shrewd politician intent on moving Ireland forward as a modern, self-confident European nation.
Chronology of Lemass's Life and Times
- Sean Lemass and the Politics of Economic Policy
- Lemass and Northern Ireland
- Lemass and the British
- Lemass and the Catholic Church
Archives and libraries
‘The undoubted achievements of this legendary pragmatic politician are teased out in this new addition to the UCD Press “Life and Times new series” … it takes a thematic structure, usefully examining Lemass’s career.”
History Ireland, March/April 2015
‘The author, who has a deep knowledge of the Lemass era, draws on the latest archival information in Britain as well as Ireland to throw further light on the career of a key figure in the consolidation of a young Irish state.’
The Irish Catholic, February 2015
‘Bookworm [History Ireland] is always on the lookout for publications that appeal to a particular type of reader: Leaving Cert and A-level student, languid undergrad, or general readers whose enthusiasm for history is not matched by the necessary leisure time to plough through academic monographs … A case in point was the ‘Life and Times’ series published by the Historical Association of Ireland in the 1990s, which aimed ‘to place the lives of leading figures in Irish history against the background of new research’. The good news is that the series is back, with the same mission statement, this time published by UCD Press.’
History Ireland March/April 2009
‘Also welcome is the new series of the Historical Association of Ireland’s Life and Times concise biographies, which started out some years ago under the Dundalgan Press imprint. It has now been taken over by the excellent UCD Press and given a makeover and smart new livery, keeping the bright blue colour scheme of the originals. The aim of the series is to provide scholarly and accessibly brief biographies of major figures in Irish history by experts in the field, suitable for Leaving Certificate, A level and undergraduate students but also for the general reader.’
Irish Democrat, November 2009