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We don't know ourselves : a personal history of modern Ireland  Cover Image Book Book

We don't know ourselves : a personal history of modern Ireland

Summary: "A celebrated Irish writer's magisterial, brilliantly insightful chronicle of the wrenching transformations that dragged his homeland into the modern world. Fintan O'Toole was born in the year the revolution began. It was 1958, and the Irish government--in despair, because all the young people were leaving--opened the country to foreign investment and popular culture. So began a decades-long, ongoing experiment with Irish national identity. In We Don't Know Ourselves, O'Toole, one of the Anglophone world's most consummate stylists, weaves his own experiences into Irish social, cultural, and economic change, showing how Ireland, in just one lifetime, has gone from a reactionary "backwater" to an almost totally open society--perhaps the most astonishing national transformation in modern history. Born to a working-class family in the Dublin suburbs, O'Toole served as an altar boy and attended a Christian Brothers school, much as his forebears did. He was enthralled by American Westerns suddenly appearing on Irish television, which were not that far from his own experience, given that Ireland's main export was beef and it was still not unknown for herds of cattle to clatter down Dublin's streets. Yet the Westerns were a sign of what was to come. O'Toole narrates the once unthinkable collapse of the all-powerful Catholic Church, brought down by scandal and by the activism of ordinary Irish, women in particular. He relates the horrific violence of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, which led most Irish to reject violent nationalism. In O'Toole's telling, America became a lodestar, from John F. Kennedy's 1963 visit, when the soon-to-be martyred American president was welcomed as a native son, to the emergence of the Irish technology sector in the late 1990s, driven by American corporations, which set Ireland on the path toward particular disaster during the 2008 financial crisis. A remarkably compassionate yet exacting observer, O'Toole in coruscating prose captures the peculiar Irish habit of "deliberate unknowing," which allowed myths of national greatness to persist even as the foundations were crumbling. Forty years in the making, We Don't Know Ourselves is a landmark work, a memoir and a national history that ultimately reveals how the two modes are entwined for all of us"--

Record details

  • ISBN: 9781631496530
  • ISBN: 1631496530
  • ISBN: 9781631496547
  • Physical Description: print
    616 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
  • Edition: First American edition.
  • Publisher: New York, NY : Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company, 2022.

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 572-598) and index.
Formatted Contents Note: The Loneliest Boy in the World -- 1958: On Noah's Ark -- 1959: Modern Family -- 1960: Comanche Country -- 1961: Balubaland -- 1962: Cathode NĂ­ Houlihan -- 1963: The Dreamy Movement of the Stairs -- 1962-1999: Silence and Smoothness -- 1965: Our Boys -- 1966: The GPO Trouser Suit -- 1967: The Burial of Leopold Bloom -- 1968: Requiem -- 1969: Frozen Violence -- 1970: The Killer Chord -- 1971: Little Plum -- 1972: Death of a Nationalist -- 1973: Into Europe -- 1976: The Walking Dead -- 1975-1980: Class Acts -- 1971-1983: Bungalow Bliss -- 1979: Bona Fides -- 1980-1981: No Blue Hills -- 1980-1981: A Beggar on Horseback -- 1979-1982: The Body Politic -- 1981-1983: Foetal Attractions -- 1982: Wonders Taken For Signs -- 1984-1985: Dead Babies and Living Statues -- 1987-1991: As Oil Is to Texas -- 1986-1992: Internal Exiles -- 1989: Freaks -- 1985-1992: Conduct Unbecoming -- 1990-1992: Mature Recollection -- 1992: Not So Bad Myself -- 1992-1994: Meanwhile Back at the Ranch -- 1993: True Confessions -- 1993-1994: Angel Paper -- 1998: The Uses of Uncertainty -- 1990-2015: America at Home -- 1990-2000: Unsuitables from a Distance -- 1999: The Cruelty Man -- 1997-2008: The Makeover -- 2000-2008: Tropical Ireland -- 2009-2013: Jesus Fucking Hell and God -- 2018- : Negative Capability.
Subject: O'Toole, Fintan 1958-
HISTORY / Social History
HISTORY / Europe / Ireland
Ireland History 20th century
Ireland History 21st century
Genre: History.

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Library. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Library System.
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Public Library. (Show)


  • 0 current holds with 1 total copy.
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Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Homer Public Library 941.70824 OTO (Text) 000164712 Nonfiction Available -

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