From tragic generals to nuns on the run – the extraordinary stories of the Irish on the frontlines of the First World War that you’ve never heard before
Based on first-hand accounts of the First World War, The Glorious Madness is a collection of character portraits and stirring anecdotes that brings to life the hopes, fears and ambitions that defined the generation of Irish men and women lost to the catastrophe of the first great modern war.
From the generals and field commanders through to the troopers and nurses on the front lines, from the trenches of the Somme to the beaches of Gallipoli, the Irish served at every turn in the Great War.
Popular historian Turtle Bunbury is renowned for uncovering important forgotten stories from our past. Here he reveals many never-before-heard tales of the Irish heroes and heroines whose lives coincided with one of the most brutal conflicts our world has ever known – including nuns, artists, sportsmen, poets, aristocrats, nationalists, nurses, clergymen and film directors.
From the dramatic story of the nuns of Ypres and their escape to Ireland to found Kylemore Abbey, to the multiple-escapist who became the one-legged nemesis of Michael Collins, and the five tragic, rugby-loving pals from the same Dublin team massacred at Gallipoli, the stories that Turtle Bunbury unearths about Irish men and women offer a new and timely perspective on Irish participation in the Great War.
An important book, by turns poignant, enlightening, whimsical and darkly comic, this is history as it should – free-wheeling and finely tuned to the rhythms of the human heart.
[In The Glorious Madness] Turtle continues the wonderful listening and yarn-spinning he has honed in the Vanishing Ireland series, applying it to veterans of the First World War. The stories he recreates are poignant, whimsical and bleakly funny, bringing back into the light the lives of people who found themselves on the wrong side of history after the struggle for Irish independence. This is my kind of micro-history.
John Grenham, The Irish Times
A wonderful book packed with great individual stories and pictures which bring the Irish participation in the Great War vividly alive.
Sean Farrell, Irish Independent
Based on first-hand accounts of the conflict, this collection of character portraits and stirring anecdotes brings to life the hopes, fears and ambitions that defined Ireland’s ‘lost generation’.
Peter Costello, The Irish Catholic
Turtle Bunbury’s book about the Great War is a great read, a dramatic confection of remarkable stories about remarkable events and individuals slapped together with great dexterity and professionalism. … This is military history as entertainment on a scale we have not seen since, well, the First World War …
This is one book that can be judged by its cover.
Pádraig Yeates, Dublin Review of Books
The impressively versatile Turtle Bunbury is known for his sensitively written, well-observed Vanishing Ireland series of books and his appearance on RTE’s Genealogy Roadshow. He also toured this year as one of the lecturers in the Great War Roadshow, headed by Myles Dungan.
Now, also marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, Bunbury marches into what once would have been a no-man’s land for historians.
There is much to enjoy here. Bunbury has an eye for irony and pathos and a fluid attractive writing style. It’s packed with personalities and stories of courage under fire amid truly unimaginable slaughter, of mind-boggling military incompetence and of individuals emotionally afflicted by reports of courage in another cause at home.
Emmanuel Kehoe, Sunday Business Post
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