By Sean O'Callaghan
By former member of the IRA and police informant, Sean O'Callaghan, the story of revolutionary James Connolly, his role in the 1916 Easter Rising, and his subsequent influence both on O'Callaghan himself, and on 20th century Irish politics. Easter Monday, 24th April, 1916: James Connolly, a 48-year-old Edinburgh-born Marxist and former British soldier, stands at the top of the steps of Liberty Hall, Dublin.
'We are going out to be slaughtered,' Connolly told his comrades, and with this he set in train the Easter Rising of 1916, an armed struggle that would end with his execution in Kilmainham Gaol two weeks later.
In a scene that has haunted Nationalist Ireland ever since, he was carried to his place of execution having been badly wounded. Placed on a chair, he was shot dead by soldiers of the army he had once served in. This is not a traditional biography about the man and the myth that was James Connolly.
Neither is it a book about 20th century Irish history, though it can be read as both. It is a book about O'Callaghan's relationship with a man who was to deeply influence his formative years; it is about the politics of violent extremism that O'Callaghan subsequently became caught up in; and it's about the kind of individuals who are willing to sacrifice everything, including their lives, for a holy cause.
Today across the world there is no shortage of what O'Callaghan has come to call 'True Believers': young men and women who, brought up in the heart of Western society, are eager to fight and die for an ideal that will fill the spiritual and political void they see around them.
Never has a book been more timely.