Peter Hart's monograph, The IRA and its enemies: violence and community in Cork, 1916–1923, has been the subject of a rancorous debate in Ireland since its publication in 1998. In academic journals, in the press, and in the electronic media, Hart has been accused repeatedly of deliberately distorting evidence. The controversy turns on Hart's depiction of Irish revolutionary violence, and in particular upon a chapter entitled ‘Taking it out on the Protestants’, in which the IRA was portrayed as fundamentally sectarian. This article seeks to address a question that must occasionally trouble all of us: what are historical disagreements really about? To achieve a wider perspective on the Peter Hart affair it considers the famous row over historical ‘fabrication’ ignited by David Abraham's The collapse of the Weimar Republic (1981) and Keith Windschuttle's assault on Lyndall Ryan's book The Aboriginal Tasmanians (1981; 2nd edition 1996). The comparison suggests that when historians fall out over footnotes there is more involved than scholarly propriety.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.