That Neutral Island: A Cultural History of Ireland During the Second World War
by Clair Wills
Despite Winston Churchill's best efforts to the contrary, the Irish premier Eamon de Valera stuck rigidly to Ireland's right to remain outside a ... Show synopsis Despite Winston Churchill's best efforts to the contrary, the Irish premier Eamon de Valera stuck rigidly to Ireland's right to remain outside a conflict in which it had no enemies. Accusations of betrayal and hypocrisy poisoned the airwaves and the printed media; legends of Nazi spies roaming the country freely made Ireland seem a haven for Hitler's friends. This is the background to Clair Wills' brilliant and ground-breaking book. Where previous histories of Ireland in the war years have focused on high politics, "That Neutral Island" mines deeper layers of experience. Sean O'Faolain, Kate O'Brien, Elizabeth Bowen, Flann O'Brien and Louis MacNeice are a few of the writers whose stories, letters and diaries are used to illuminate this small country as it lived under rationing, heavy censorship, the threat of invasion and a strange state of detachment from the real world of the war.