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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid
I have never read a history book that was more moving or more realistic (and I was a history major.) Afterwards I traveled to Dublin just to see Kilmainham Gaol. The book was so realistic that the Gaol was horribly familiar to me. Buy the book and read it. You'd be hard pressed to find a better book. Better yet, buy a dozen copies and give them out to your friends.
Published on March 10, 2000 by Thomas Walsh

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Great story mediocre rendering
Choppy narrative. Hard to follow all the characters and situations. Tough read. It was the captivating story that keep me going
Published 11 months ago by John P. Gallagfer


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid, March 10, 2000
I have never read a history book that was more moving or more realistic (and I was a history major.) Afterwards I traveled to Dublin just to see Kilmainham Gaol. The book was so realistic that the Gaol was horribly familiar to me. Buy the book and read it. You'd be hard pressed to find a better book. Better yet, buy a dozen copies and give them out to your friends.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A movie screenplay begging to be filmed, July 16, 2004
By 
M. Veiluva "sputnik99" (Walnut Creek, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
De Rosa's "Rebels" is simply one of the best historical books I have ever read, period. Some have criticised it for adopting a novelized approach, with plenty of dialogue, but as popular history, the result is a suspenseful buildup to the Great Easter Rising of 1916, and its brutal extermination by the British Army.
The success of the book is the care that De Rosa takes to develop his characters, including the ill-fated Casement, the rabble-rousing socialist Connelly, schoolmaster Patrick Pearse, Tom Clarke, and the dozen or so key leaders of the uprising. Most were executed within days of the suppression to the outcry of liberal MPs in London, and became martyrs to Irish freedom.
Someone seriously needs to turn this book into a screenplay, which would be a far more dramatic tale than "Michael Collins", particularly since the politics of the April 24 rebellion were far less complex than the civil war that is hopelessly glossed over in "Collins" The wedding of one of the uprising's leaders in his cell before his execution was heartbreaking even in print.
The book is a great read even without a background in Irish history.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling Account, November 19, 2002
By 
Paul J. Ditz (Shelby, NC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Although many would criticize this "history" for it's fictionalized conversations and encounters, Peter de Rosa sets forth a fairly accurate and moving account of the events of Easter Week 1916. DeRosa uses the fictionalized conversations to bring alive the characters involved in the events, and does an admirable job in capturing their personalities. This is a remarkably accessible account which will be a good introduction to those new to Irish history. The reader will be spell bound by many of the accounts such as Cathal Brugha's one-man stand against a batallion of British soldiers, and the heart-wrenching final account of the hours leading up to James Connolly's execution having to be tied to a chair due to the severity of his wounds. Pick up this book, you may not be able to put it down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars inspirational, December 21, 2000
By 
i have read many fine books and accounts of the rising and the subsequent birth of the republic, but this one stands out as one of my favourites. peter de rosa did an excellent job of not only capturing the factual aspects of the rising, but also giving a multi dimensional character study of those who were so deeply involved in what ultimately was the catalyst for the end of the genocide and oppression of the irish at the hands of the british occupiers in the free republic. but what of our sisters and brothers in northern ireland? perhaps another rising....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving and inspiring work, August 28, 1997
By A Customer
De Rosa tells the actual story of the Rising. The actual historical figures (Pearse, Connolly, the Countess. etc.) are the characters and the story is the true events of that glorious week, not fictional melodramas with the Rising as a background (like Redemption). It is at times intriguing, darkly comedic, and exciting, all culminating in the final chapter, which chronicles the executions of the patriots and left me in tears. This book is a wonderful tribute to those valiant men who went to their death at the firing squads to give Ireland new life
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent account of a defining moment in modern Ireland., August 11, 1997
By 
Rebels is a well written, informative account of a defining moment in Ireland's history. I especially enjoyed how De Rosa looked at both the rebel and English leadership conflicts and their tragic consequences.

The day by day account of the Easter Rebellion in progress moved at a good pace, giving the reader a sense of urgency, a good overview of all of the main battle locations, and yet provided enough detail for those of us who revel in the minute.

An excellent choice for those interested in Ireland, its roots, and tribulations
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DON'T MISS!!!, May 15, 1999
By A Customer
For anyone with an interest in Irish history, but is tired of reading history books, this is one you musn't pass up. An already astonishing saga presented in a way to keep every lay person in it's grip. Tragic, insightful and often humerous, this book is a delight!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring and Haunting Story, May 15, 2002
By 
Ray Santora (Alexandria, VA) - See all my reviews
The reviews below describe the book well enough. I would only add that this book has stayed with me for five months now -- the story is that compelling and the portrayal of the protagonists is that vivid. Regardless of your interest in things Irish -- if you believe in liberty and the value of personal sacrifice in the pursuit of liberty, you will be moved by this story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, March 24, 1999
By A Customer
Wonderful book. Wonderful story, made all the more tragi-comic and heroic because it's true. DeRosa brings it to life, and I don't know when I've ever read a more powerful final sentence. I dreamed about this book every night for almost two weeks.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Who Dares To Speak of Easter Week?, December 17, 2007
This review is from: Rebels: The Irish Rising of 1916 (Hardcover)
The Easter Rebellion is the subject of this engrossing book. What makes the tale more interesting than so much of the patriotic gloss that has been so often repeated is the fact that the rising was so poorly planned that it was nothing short of a miracle that it proved to be ultimately successful in many of its long term aims.

Apart from the seizure of the General Post Office in Dublin, the rebels were unable to secure most of their objectives. British forces were able to suppress the revolt within a week. Due to disputes and internal squabbles between competing factions, many Irish militias simply refused to take any active role in the rising and the rebels in the GPO were hopelessly outnumbered from the start.

The revolt may have proven to have been unnecessary had Britain not chosen to suspend Irish Home Rule for the duration of World War One. John Redmond's long awaited legislation was enacted and then immediately placed on indefinite hold. Had Home Rule been permitted, it is quite possible that Ireland might be a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations today. Britain's refusal to implement Home Rule, despite its Parliamentary approval, gave rebel leaders the opportunity to plot a course for independence.

With British Army fully engaged on the Western Front, it was thought that assistance could be readily obtained from the Central Powers to arm the rebels. Roger Casement spent months in Berlin where he took part in a series of unproductive meetings with skeptical representatives of the Kaiser. An open revolt in Dublin would be a useful diversion, but the Germans were wary about committing significant resources to such a plan and to a motley crew of disorganized and impoverished revolutionaries.

Casement's efforts to raise a revolutionary brigade composed of captured Irish colonials who were being held as British prisoners of war in German camps proved to be futile as these soldiers overwhelmingly refused to defect. The promised weapons offered by Imperial Germany turned out to be a cargo of antiquated army surplus, including some obsolete cannons and mortars that probably dated back to the Franco-Prussian War. A single ship was provided to deliver the arms to the Irish coast.

After the disguised ship skillfully evaded the British naval blockade, the entire shipment was captured on the beach within mere minutes of its unloading. Casement, himself, was placed under arrest almost as soon as he arrived on shore. His betrayal was the work of a paid informer, a homosexual renter, who had been communicating with the English about Casement's activities and the shipment of arms for weeks.

Initially, many Dubliners had been enraged at the rebels both for the disruption of their daily lives and the destruction that had been visited upon their city. When the British imposed a brutal state of martial law, which included the summary execution of most of the captured rebels, Irish public sentiment changed abruptly. The rebels were no longer reviled as damned fools, but considered as martyrs to the cause of Irish freedom. Padraic Pearse had been vindicated. Out of the blood sacrifice of the rising on Easter Monday came heavy handed British reprisals which reignited the spirit of revolt on the part of the Irish people.

While not a historical novel, the book does contain some fictionalized dialogue mixed with actual quotations. This does not detract from fascinating and sometimes hilarious account of cowardice, heroism, idealism and stupidity that attended the birth of the Republic of Ireland.
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Rebels: The Irish Rising of 1916
Rebels: The Irish Rising of 1916 by Peter De Rosa (Hardcover - February 1, 1991)
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