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Listen to Emmet O'Connor discuss Big Jim Larkin on Talking History, Newstalk, 24 April 2016Watch Emmet O O'Connor give the Larkin Anniversary Lecture in Liberty Hall, 28 January 2016Listen to Emmet O'Connor being interviewed on Bookbound, Dublin City FM, 4 January 2016Listen to Emmet O'Connor discuss Big Jim Larkin on Clare FM, 17 December 2015Read an article by Emmet O'Connor, 'Jim Larkin: FBI chief confused Newry with New York', in The Irish News, 17 December 2015Read an article by Emmet O'Connor, 'Was labour hero Jim Larkin a racist?', in HeadStuff, 26 December 2015Listen to Emmet O'Connor talking to Sean O'Rourke about his new book on Big Jim Larkin, 8 December 2015Read an article by Emmet O'Connor on how Larkin was deported from
the US in the Sunday Independent, 29 November 2015
Read an article by Emmet O'Connor on how Cork helped launch Larkinism but never fully embraced it in the Irish Examiner, 15 December 2015Read an article on revolutionary period books that features this title in Irish Economic and Social History, 2016

Big Jim Larkin: Hero or Wrecker?

Emmet O'Connor (author)
Publication date:
3rd December 2015

Author Biography

Emmet O'Connor completed a BA in University College, Galway in 1977, an MA in Galway in 1979 and a PhD at St John's College, Cambridge in 1984. Since 1985 he has lectured in the School of History in Ulster University. Between 1983 and 2001 he co-edited Soother, and is an honorary president of the Irish Labour History Society. He has published widely on labour history, including Reds and the Green: Ireland, Russia, and the Communist Internationals, 1919-43 (UCD Press, 2002) and A Labour History of Ireland, 1824- 2000 (UCD Press, 2011). At present he is working on a study of the Irish in the Spanish Civil War.


Much has been written about 'Big Jim' Larkin but, remarkably, this is the first full-length biography. Through the research of leading Labour historian Emmet O'Connor, Larkin - Labour leader and agitator - is thoroughly evaluated. Based on newly uncovered and extensive police records, FBI files, and archives of the Communist International in Moscow, O'Connor goes beyond the public figure of heroism to explore the hidden side of a very private person who hated people knowing his business and kept his ambitions and personal demons behind a veil of silence. 'Big Jim' remains the central figure in the history, public history, and mythology of Irish Labour. A powerful orator and brilliant agitator, in popular consciousness Larkin is forever linked with the 1913 Lockout and the formation of the modern Irish Labour movement. Since 1909 he has been the hero of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union, the Workers' Union of Ireland, and SIPTU. For all workers, and all employers, his name is synonymous with militancy and solidarity.And yet this 'hero' succeeded in instigating a civil war in Dublin trade unionism, and in time came to be vilified as a 'wrecker' by some of his former comrades.In Big Jim Larkin Emmet O'Connor reveals a man who proves to be both hero and wrecker.