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The Dynamiters
Irish Nationalism and Political Violence in the Wider World, 1867–1900


  • Date Published: May 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107519213

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About the Authors
  • In the 1880s a New York-based faction of militant Irish nationalists conducted the first urban bombing campaign in history, targeting symbolic public buildings in Britain with homemade bombs. This book investigates the people and ideas behind this spectacular new departure in revolutionary violence. Employing a transnational approach, the book reveals connections and parallels between the 'dynamiters' and other revolutionary groups active at the time and demonstrates how they interacted with currents in revolution, war and politics across Europe, the United States and the British Empire. Reconstructing the life stories of individual dynamiters and their conceptual and ethical views on violence, it offers an innovative picture of the dynamics of revolutionary organizations as well as the political, social and cultural factors which move people to support or condemn acts of political violence.

    • Explores the factors which led to the adoption of this new form of revolutionary violence
    • Transnational study which reveals connections and parallels between the 'dynamiters' and other revolutionary and nationalist groups
    • Analyses the dynamics of revolutionary organisations from below as well as from the top down
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The Dynamiters is an important and spirited contribution to the history of Irish nationalism, particularly in its American and European extensions. By placing Irish history firmly 'in the wider world', Whelehan has broadened our understanding of Ireland's global history.' David Fitzpatrick, Irish Times

    'This is an interesting, significant study with important implications for the histories of late nineteenth-century Irish America and Ireland, of transatlantic radicalism and political culture, and of what is now called asymmetrical warfare or, pejoratively, terrorism.' Kerby Miller, Journal of American History

    'Whelehan provides a truly global study of some élan that draws upon a very wide range of archive sources and newspapers.' Donald MacRaild, Immigrants and Minorities

    'This is an excellent book, throwing light on an important and much-neglected passage of Irish and indeed American history.' Colin Barr, Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies

    'This ambitious and thought-provoking book deserves a wide readership. It offers a complex and rich transnational picture of this critical phase in Irish nationalism. It will be of interest not only to historians of modern Ireland and Irish America but also, more generally, to those who study ethnic identity politics and the evolution of political violence.' David A. Campion, The Journal of Modern History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107519213
    • length: 342 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 15 b/w illus. 1 map 5 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. End of insurrection? Ireland and the post-1848 revolutionary world
    2. The Skirmishing Fund
    3. Science and skirmishing
    4. The dynamiters and their supporters
    5. Bridget and the bomb: violence, Irishness and gender
    6. Skirmishing, the land question, revolutionary labour
    7. Skirmishing stops

  • Author

    Niall Whelehan, University of Edinburgh
    Niall Whelehan is a Research Fellow in History at the University of Edinburgh.

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