I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

John Mulqueen

Restless Angel

The greatest songwriter in the Irish tradition in the history of recording

Reds under the Bed

How the secret police bedded in communism in postwar Central Europe

Blood of Spain

In the first half of 1936 there were seventy political killings a month in Spain. This was really nothing new, rather the latest outbreak in a long war between ‘the ordered, timeless hierarchies’ of church, army and landowner and the urban proletariat and its peasant allies.

Our Enemies’ Enemies

How the US and the Vatican combined to help Nazis escape justice

For the Cause

In the mid-1930s, 40,000 men enlisted in the International Brigades to fight fascism in Spain. Many died, while the recollections of some who returned, like those published in a moving memoir from the mid-1970s, do not cast much credit on the organisers of the resistance.

Betrayal

We should be sceptical when great powers tell us a region is riven by age-old, unresolvable conflicts and hatreds. This was the kind of mystification that in 1938 supplied Britain and France with an excuse to abandon their ally Czechoslovakia, a European democracy, to Hitler.

Tales from the Wardrobe

If historian Mark Mazower’s father was a quiet man, his reticence was nothing compared to his father’s. Starting from some diaries found in a wardrobe, Mazower has traced an epic and often tragic family history that played out against the turmoil and violence of the early twentieth century.

The Perfect Spy

Working undercover for Moscow in 1930s China, Richard Sorge had to drink cocktails, dance with elegant women and eat in the finest restaurants, affording him a different experience from his previous secret work among dockers and miners in Germany. But he took to it like a duck to water.

Steady As She Goes

From 1987 to the intoxicating highs of the Celtic Tiger, peaking in 2008, then crashing, there would be one political certainty in Ireland: most voters would choose a mainstream party in a general election. Even in 2011, the three established parties still dominated the scene.

Friends At War

Was the Irish Civil War really a struggle between social classes?