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Renaissance Nation: How the Pope’s Children rewrote the Rules for Ireland

Renaissance Nation: How the Pope’s Children rewrote the Rules for Ireland

David McWilliams

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A thrilling and ambitious return to form from Ireland’s most popular economist and commentator. A timely, counterintuitive and optimistic take on the rise of the middle class and the defeat of Ireland’s culture of conservativism

Today, Ireland is one of the wealthiest and most progressive nations in the world, a bustling home to multinationals and start-ups, seemingly immune to the strains of radical populism sweeping the Western world. It’s a far cry from the Ireland of just four decades ago, a dreary and stagnant place with an economy at the bottom of the European class. When the Pope returned to Ireland this summer, it was to address a society radically changed from that which thronged the Phoenix Park back in 1979.

So how did we manage it? How did we go from economic embarrassment to avocado toast in the space of a generation? Why did the Irish economy burst from the blocks in 1990 and, with the exception of the recent economic crash that should have but didn’t derail the country for decades, keep going? And why did we shrug off some obsessions, only to grip others, such as our national preoccupation with property, more tightly?

The answer, the spark that lit the Irish flame, isn’t to be found in the official records of government; this wasn’t a story begun in Leinster House or the enclaves of Irish bureaucracy. Instead, this was a revolution from below, born of ‘a million little mutinies’ in Irish society, a wholesale shift in the way normal people saw and thought about themselves.

Characteristically brilliant, perceptive and timely, Renaissance Nation is a thrilling account of Ireland’s vertiginous rise and an exploration of its conflicted present, where stark decisions and even starker outcomes await the next generation of would-be revolutionaries.

Additional Information

Author David McWilliams
Publisher Gill Books
Publication date 9 Nov 2018
Format Hardback
ISBN/EAN 9780717180752

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