The News from Ireland

Anyone who watched the media coverage of the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 would think that journalists had never before reported from the scene of a war. The truth, of course, is very different.

Reportage of war is almost as old as newspapers themselves and journalists have a chequered history of sending dispatches from the battlefields. The coverage of the was in Iraq was different because it was the first time since World War I that journalists allowed themselves to be ‘embedded’ in the armies of the invading forces - a tactic that was to prove as misguided in 2003 as it did almost 100 years earlier when British journalists became the messenger boys of army generals on the battlefields of Europe.

By concentrating on the reporting of the War of Independence in the foreign media, Maurice Walsh has shed new light on the remarkable events in Ireland in the period after World War I. He has also produced a very interesting thesis as to why British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, was so eager to reach terms with Michael Collins in the summer of 1921 - the British had lost the propaganda battle in its own media.

The News From Ireland is an absolutely fascinating account of an aspect of the Irish War of Independence that has remained virtually unexplored up to now. It is a hugely impressive study of the media and the influence it can wield in times of conflict.

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