A celebrated Irish writer’s magisterial, brilliantly insightful chronicle of the wrenching transformations that dragged his homeland into the modern world.
Fintan O’Toole was born in the year the revolution began. It was 1958, and the Irish government—in despair, because all the young people were leaving—opened the country to foreign investment and popular culture. So began a decades-long, ongoing experiment with Irish national identity. In We Don’t Know Ourselves, O’Toole, one of the Anglophone world’s most consummate stylists, weaves his own experiences into Irish social, cultural, and economic change, showing how Ireland, in just one lifetime, has gone from a reactionary “backwater” to an almost totally open society—perhaps the most astonishing national transformation in modern history.
Born to a working-class family in the Dublin suburbs, O’Toole served as an altar boy and attended a Christian Brothers school, much as his forebears did. He was enthralled by American Westerns suddenly appearing on Irish
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