Revolutionary, statesman, polymath: Frank Aiken cuts a colossal figure in 20th-century Irish history. However, he remains a controversial figure - regarded as a war criminal by some and a principled proponent of National liberation by others. In this engaging biography, contributors scrutinize Aiken's thoughts and actions at several critical junctures in modern Irish and world history, taking readers through the War of Independence, Civil War, the birth of the new state, the Second World War, the Cold War, and the modern Northern Ireland Troubles. The unrivaled breadth of this study traces in detail the footprints Aiken left on the national and international political stage. Frank Aiken owed his early eminence to military rather than political leadership. He was commandant of the 4th Northern Division of the IRA during the War of Independence and, though he tried to resist action and affect a truce, was driven to undertake the most daring and spectacular feats of the Irish Civil War. He became IRA Chief of Staff, but was expelled for backing de Valera's plan for a Republican government - the beginnings of Fianna Fail. Thereafter, his instrumental role was to be political: a Minister for Defense, Finance, and External Affairs over the course of the following decades. He was to oversee much success and controversy in the burgeoning state. With heartfelt testimonies - from family members, rivals, and colleagues that shed light on the life of Frank Aiken as a man, politician, and myth - this biography represents the first deserving assessment of a monumental personality in 20th-century Irish history.
Publication Date: 4/9/2014