Turning against patriotic pieties as well as violence, O'Brien has for years argued that partition remains the best pragmatic and democratic dispensation in Ireland. Although last year's Good Friday agreement was welcomed by the British, Irish, and U.S. governments, O'Brien was critical of it. Apart from his hostility to terrorism, he has always maintained that a compromise acceptable both to Sinn Fein and to the Unionist majority is an illusion. The deadlocks this spring lend plausibility to his pessimism.
O'Brien's Memoir: My Life and Themes (from which "Two Deaths in Rathmines" is drawn), recently published in Britain by Profile Books and awaiting an American publisher, began with pieces that O'Brien wrote for The Atlantic about his family and modern Irish history. It tells of one of the noteworthy lives of the century.
-- THE EDITORS
Photographs courtesy of Conor Cruise O'Brien.
The Atlantic Monthly; June 1999; 77 North Washington Street - 99.06 ; Volume 283, No. 6; page 6.