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From Seán Lemass to mass unemployment: Ireland changed between 1966 and 1987 and, Tim Pat Coogan argues in Disillusioned Decades, not for the better
The year 1966 was one in which to take stock: fifty years since the Rising, what had the Republic achieved? In Disillusioned Decades, Ireland’s most celebrated and controversial historian Tim Pat Coogan looks at a country in bloom – Seán Lemass was at the end of a successful term as Taoiseach, the economy appeared stable and the newly founded Raidío Telifís Éireann was providing homes around Ireland with art and culture through their television screens.
Over the next 21 years, every aspect of Irish life was changed dramatically and profoundly. By 1987, Ireland was a country characterised by high levels of urbanisation, chronic unemployment, mass emigration and a heroin problem comparable in percentage terms to New York. What happened in those pivotal 20 years?
Tim Pat Coogan, famous for his perceptiveness and sharp observations, was editor of national newspaper The Irish Press for most of this period, reporting on the people and events that Disillusioned Decades analyses. Using his in-depth knowledge of the political, cultural and social changes of the 1960s, 70s and 80s rounded out with his personal reminiscences, in Disillusioned Decades Coogan steps back to view the events in a wider context.
Throughout Disillusioned Decades, Coogan paints a grim and no-punches-pulled picture of Ireland’s trajectory from 1966 to 1987. Sharply perceptive and enlivened by frequent flashes of personal reminiscence, this book presents a wealth of information and opinion in Coogan’s distinctive and authoritative style.