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Big Jim Larkin

Hero or Wrecker?

Much has been written about ’Big Jim’ Larkin but, remarkably, this is the first full-length biography. Through the research of leading Labour historian Emmet O’Connor, Larkin - Labour leader and agitator - is thoroughly evaluated. Based on newly uncovered and extensive police records, FBI files, and archives of the Communist International in Moscow, O’Connor goes beyond the public figure of heroism to explore the hidden side of a very private person who hated people knowing his business and kept his ambitions and personal demons behind a veil of silence. ’Big Jim’ remains the central figure in the history, public history, and mythology of Irish Labour. A powerful orator and brilliant agitator, in popular consciousness Larkin is forever linked with the 1913 Lockout and the formation of the modern Irish Labour movement. Since 1909 he has been the hero of the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, the Workers’ Union of Ireland, and SIPTU. For all workers, and all employers, his name is synonymous with militancy and solidarity.And yet this ’hero’ succeeded in instigating a civil war in Dublin trade unionism, and in time came to be vilified as a ’wrecker’ by some of his former comrades.In Big Jim Larkin Emmet O’Connor reveals a man who proves to be both hero and wrecker.

368 pages

History: British and Irish History

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations Acknowledgements Introduction Chapter 1 - A man’s man, 1874-1906 Chapter 2 - Piping days and roaring nights, 1907 Chapter 3 - The leaving of Liverpool, 1908 Chapter 4 - The Liverpool leftovers, 1909-10 Chapter 5 - Wrath and hope and wonder, 1910-11 Chapter 6 - Larkin’s next step, 1912-13 Chapter 7 - Crushing Larkin, 1913 Chapter 8 - Mercury takes flight, 1914 Chapter 9 - Kaiser Jim, 1914-17 Chapter 10 - Red Jim, 1918-23 Chapter 11 - The morals of a European foreign minister, 1923-4 Chapter 12 - My way and no way, 1924-45 Chapter 13 - Retreat from Moscow, 1927-9 Chapter 14 - The Larkintern, 1929-33 Chapter 15 - Ishmael, 1934-40 Chapter 16 - Evening star, 1941-7 Conclusion - Wirkungsgesehichte Notes Bibliography Index.

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