Fortunately, this painstaking biography is almost devoid of interpretation and progresses through a dossier of facts that might be tiresome if it were not so pleasingly exact. It's no secret where the author's sympathies lie, but in covering them up she has given us a just, credible and prect record which is a definite event in the field of Irish politics. The anguish violence of de Valera's career of course break through even the iciest objectivity. A pedantic, scrounging school-teacher, De Valera was a late participant in Sinn Fein, never intended to engage in the Easter uprising of 1916, and was catapulted to political leadership without training or experience. Dreams of a true republic were compromised by the shackled reality of the Free State, by the perfidious actions of the delegates to the Lloyd George treaty conferences, and De Valera left his hardwon soil rather than swear allegiance or fealty to any British sovereign. He was hunted as tenaciously by his own people as by his former English jailers. And his gradual return to power, by preceable, legislative means was made to coincide with the gradual shift in Ireland from the wildly brandished pike to constitutional law. A highly readable and rewarding portrait.