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Read Matthew Lewis discuss Frank Aiken in The Irish Times, 22 October 2014Read an article on revolutionary period books that features this title in Irish Economic and Social History, 2016

Frank Aiken's War
The Irish Revolution, 1916-23

Matthew Lewis (author)
Paperback / softback,
Publication date:
29th August 2014

Author Biography

Dr Matthew Lewis is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Centre for the History of Violence at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Until September 2013, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Centre for War Studies at University College Dublin. He completed his PhD at Queen's University Belfast in 2011.


From an adolescent farmer to a local Sinn Fein activist and provincial guerrilla leader, and eventually to chief-of-staff of the IRA, Frank Aiken has an early, hidden history. As with so many of his political generation, Aiken's path to politics began amid the violent upheaval of the Irish revolution. In a career spanning 50 years he served in numerous high-profile ministerial roles and earned widespread recognition for his work as Ireland's representative to the United Nations. Yet these later successes masked a controversial past. This comprehensive study provides the first in-depth look at Aiken's role in Ireland's turbulent revolutionary period, 1916-23. Drawing on a wide variety of original archival sources, this book blends elements of biography and local study to offer both the first exhaustive account of Aiken's role in the conflict, and the first in-depth study of the broader context of republican politics and violence in Ulster in which he played such a pivotal role. This book creates a detailed map of Aiken's formative years, exploring the early movements of the man which would place him at the forefront of Irish and international Free State politics.