Launch of David McCullagh’s De Valera: Rise 1882 – 1932

Launch of David McCullagh’s De Valera: Rise 1882 – 1932


In this new biography, De Valera Rise 1882 - 1932, historian and broadcaster David McCullagh charts De Valera’s vertiginous rise from humble beginnings to electoral victory with Fianna Fáil in 1932. It was officially launched in the National Library of Ireland by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on 25 October 2017.


“Dr McCullagh has done a remarkable job in distilling a half of century of Irish history - viewed through the prism of the life of De Valera - into an engaging and thought-provoking read. It is a book which confirms his reputation as a historical scholar to match the considerable one he has as a journalist and broadcaster” - An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar


Éamon de Valera was the single most consequential Irish figure of the twentieth century. He was a leader in the Easter Rising, the figurehead of the anti-Treaty rebels during the dark days of the Civil War and, later, as the founder of Fianna Fáil and president of Ireland, the pivotal figure in the birth of the Republic.


“In this book, there are some fascinating insights into the personality of de Valera. For example, we learn that ‘Throughout his life, de Valera had a tendency to fall asleep when reading’. On one occasion, when he was a student, he was caught by a prefect, and to catch him out the prefect turned the book upside down before waking him up. Unapologetic, de Valera insisted that he was able to read upside down!”- An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar


Riveting, nuanced, provocative and humorous, this is the first volume of a major two-part reassessment of the man who shaped modern Ireland draws on a wealth of new and neglected sources to present a truly ground-breaking portrait of de Valera the man, his times and his complex, ever-shifting legacy.


View the photographs from the launch over on our Facebook page.


Follow David on Twitter for the latest news. De Valera Rise 1882 - 1932 is available to buy online on our website, with Eason, Dubray, and in all good bookshops nationwide.


Praise for De Valera Rise 1882 - 1932


‘In this vividly readable and at times gripping biography he tackles head-on all of the perennial de Valera controversies, including his parentage, his role in the 1916 Rising, his relationship with Michael Collins, his responsibility for the Civil War and his subsequent rise to power, and does so with acuity and objectivity … a comprehensive, mature biography, both enlightening and entertaining.’

Maurice Manning


‘De Valera can elicit hostility or, worse, gullibility in historians. McCullagh avoids these faults: dispassionate, comprehensive and the best exploitation yet of the voluminous de Valera archive.’

John Bowman, Historian and Broadcaster


About the author


David McCullagh is the author of The Reluctant Taoiseach, a biography of John A. Costello, and A Makeshift Majority, a history of the first inter-party government. He began working as a journalist with the Evening Press before joining RTÉ, where he currently presents the broadcaster’s flagship current affairs programme, Prime Time.

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