Praise for Patric Pearce: the Triumph of Failure
'This book gives us the man in his complexity: poet, playwright, editor, plitical propagandist, nationalist, schoolmaster, soldier. It is balanced; it will probably annoy the hagiographers as a result; but it is a fascinating case history of the psycho-pathology of the idealistic but ruthless revolutionary.'
Norman Jeffares, Yorkshire Post
'Ruth Dudley Edwards has presented a balanced non-partisan analysis of the man and the triumph of his failure... a major contribution to the history of the formation of the Irish Nation.'
Marian Keaney, Books Ireland
'It is when she comes to chart the way in which Pearse's own peculiar combination of restless romanticism, vanity, ambition, spirituality and innocence led him really quite suddenly into bloody militant nationalism, that she performs an important service to Irish history, managing to do this without making him the traditional noble hero of the glass case, or un-noble either.'
Robert Kee, The Observer
'a thorough piece of scholarship — a biography well researched and well documented'
Cecil Harmsworth Kind, Books Ireland
'Miss Edwards brings many fine qualities to her task. She is, unlike Pearse's previous biographers, a trained historian. She is eminently fair. One suspects she began with a certain distaste for the myth of Pearse, and slowly aquired a reluctant affection for the lonely, complex man, seeking refuge in martial prose from his own deep humanity, tortured by self-doubt as only a sensitive soul can be, who she disinterred beneath the sediment deposited by the hagiographers. She also possesses qualities that no mere professional training can give — an extraordinarily mature mind, awareness of the terrible fragility of the human personality, sympathy for the corrosion of character caused by emotional stress, respect for the resilience of a noble spirit struggling to overcome the inadequacies of his home life and of his education... Miss Edwards has worked wonders in restoring the personality... This spendidly written book transforms the study of Pearse by elevating it to a proper historical plane. Miss Edwards has succeeded in the daunting task of simultaneously rendering a signal service to Irish scholarship, to historical studies, and to the memory of Patrick Pearse.'
Joseph Lee, Irish Press
'Miss Dudley Edwards, in her preface, says that she has tried to present a fair picture of a complex personality. Her whole book is evidence of such an effor tand, in my opinion, it succeeds in presenting such a picture. It is true that my opinion to that effect is unlikely to convince those who are most likely to take offence at the book... By [Pearse's 'worshippers'] Miss Dudley Edwards's treatment of Pearse's emotional life, and to a lesser extent his financial affairs will be regarded as almost blasphemous.'
Connor Cruise O'Brien, Irish Independent
'excellent... this is a quite remarkable book.'
Leon Ó Broin, The Times Literary Supplement
'This book will fail to convince those who remain blind worshippers at Pearse's shrine — particularly the revelations of his indebtedness, suppressed homosexuality and the unseemly wrangles in the Gaelic League and the Irish Republican Brotherhood. But in a balanced and restrained way, the biography is an eloquent damnation of the hatred and fanaticism that an innocent such as Pearse unleashed on Ireland and which still abounds today.'
Robert Taylor, New Society
'This is a marvellous biography. Miss Edwards has taken Pearse down from his pedestal as a plaster saint and shown him as a human being. In the hands of his latest biographer, he merges as one of the remarkable figures in the history of the 20th Century.'
Ulick O'Connor, Sunday Independent