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The Big Fellow: Michael Collins & the Irish Revolution Hardcover – March, 1998


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Striking straight at the heart of a man whose life was a saga, O'Connor has written brilliantly of the West Cork County boy—Collins is here in episodes and anecdotes far more exciting than those of any thriller."—The New York Times Book Review, 1937
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Frank O'Connor was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1903. His many collections of short stories gained him a worldwide reputation as one of the greatest masters of the form. He died in 1966.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Picador USA (March 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312182937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312182939
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,230,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By daidhaid on December 13, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I was interested in learning more about Collins after seeing the recent movie. This book fleshed out the charaterizations in the movie giving a realistic treatment of the man. In doing so it tended to diminish the legend as it was portrayed in the Liam Neeson movie. Well that was sort of a letdown for my overly romantic vision of a man who truly is an Irish hero, but I am glad to have been educated on the matter by a man who knew and admired Michael Collins for who he really was. The book was written quite a while ago when this was all current information which lends credibility to every page. The style of writing is not at all modern so occasionaly a sentence or two requires some consideration to get the meaning. Having said that I found it a very interesting book with a lot to offer any student of Irish History or Politics. Other books cover history in greater detail and offer more commentary but this one is a first hand account by a veteran of the actual events described. It is very even handed in its treatment of Collins and other major characters. I was left with a huge respect for Collins and his passion for the people of Ireland. I really reccomend this book and have already passed it on to another person to read.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
This biography was fascinating to me because it was written much closer to the time of the events related than more recent books on Collins, and was written by a man who fought in the Irish Civil War (in which Collins lost his life)and fought on the side opposite Collins. The book is written in a novelistic style that can sometimes be rather offputting, but it is nonetheless an intriguing view of the most charismatic and, probably, most effective Irish leader ever. Certainly it reveals the great regard in which Collins was, and is, held by his countrymen, even those who did not support him after the Treaty which precipitated the civil war(which Ireland seems only now to be putting behind it).Anyone interested in Michael Collins and the tremendous impact he had on his country should read this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sara on February 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
This Collins biography was the first one I ever read. I bought it immediately after viewing Neil Jordan's biopic in 1996 and tore through it cover-to-cover in no time flat. Part of that was from youthful enthusiasm and the rest because O'Connor's writing style is so engaging. O'Connor himself deemed the book a "labour of love" and it is clear from the very first page that he meant it. My paperback edition has a foreword from the author in which he explains his affinity to Collins and his motivations for writing the biography. From there, he divides the text into three parts: Lilliput in London, The Body and the Lash, and The Tragic Dilemma. He covers Collins' youth, though his focus begins during Collins' teen years in London. He discusses the Easter Rising, Collins' jail time, his work at infiltrating the British spy system, Bloody Sunday, Collins' assassination, and, very briefly, the aftermath in Ireland. Throughout the book, O'Connor gives his reader a voyeuristic peek into Collins' life through Collins' own words and Collins' personality traits. This is one of the best Collins biographies at allowing the audience to know Michael the person as opposed to Michael the soldier, Michael the revolutionary, or Michael the politician. Also what sets O'Connor apart is his creative writing background. His words are infused with a kind of passion to which many writers can only aspire. I have to admit the last three paragraphs of the book may have you in tears as I was the first time I read them. If you are new to the life of Collins, this is not a bad selection to begin with and, likewise, if you are already familiar with Collins, this is an excellent book to include in your collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Iosephus Bibliothecarius on March 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
A great biography of Collins written less than two decades after his death. O'Conner fought against Collins and the Treaty during the Irish Civil War, but became fascinated by the man later. Contains many, many interesting anecdotes which you'll enjoy if you aren't too worried about their provenance (there are very few footnotes). Neil Jordan said he read this book before writing the script to his movie and it shows. There are scenes in the book which are almost exactly performed on screen in the film. Pick up this book if you want a non-academic, fun and interesting view of Collins.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G. Drummy on July 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I remember reading this book in school in Ireland. Collins was a true patriot, but like most of us he had his faults. The book shows the good and bad at a time in Irish history when life was in some cases very cheap. Collins place in the peace treaty can never be discounted and the controvesy relating to the ambush and death will probably never be fully uncovered. I was and still am touched by his own words when he signed the treaty "today I have signed my own death warrant" a true giant the " Big Fellow ".
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