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The story of Charles Stewart Parnell (1846-1890) is a dramatic and fascinating one because of the baffling character of the man himself and because of the tumultuousness of the movement which was indissolubly bound up with him and which shared the fate of his downfall. In this very workmanlike and objective biography, Jules Abels does a magnificent job in making clear the qualities of the man who was called the ""uncrowned King of Ireland"" but who possessed in the last analysis feet of clay. Parnell was an anomaly and always remained something of a puzzle to his followers. He seemed to be in himself a contradiction to the causes he epoused. A Protestant, aristocratic, landholder in a Catholic, peasant and feudalized society, he nevertheless became the idolized leader of over 5,000,000 people and drew to his side diverse and antagonistic factions which, when left without him, succeeded in annihilating themselves. That he was able to accomplish this miracle in a short space of time and in spite of his evident eccentricities is due, according to Abels, to his superb political skill, his mastery as a Parliamentarian and finally, the charismatic quality of his person. The public revelation however of his ten year affair with the wife of another man, the circumstances of which were sordid and degrading, served to drive the last nail in a coffin which, Abels maintains, was long in the making. Careworn and exhausted he died at the age of 44 and the Home Rule movement died with him, not to be resurrected again for a generation. Abel's account is thorough and thoughtful and fully equal to his complicated task.

Publisher: Macmillan