THE BLACK AND TANS by Richard Bennett


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This is a reasonable and fairminded account of a melancholy episode in recent Irish history in which both Crown and rebels share in the follies and brutalities of a turbulent era. The General Election of 1918 brought an overwhelming victory in Ireland for the Sein Fein party which orginally had the aim of reducing the British administration by passive resistance. But in keeping with Lloyd George's policies of attrition a new force was incorporated, in 1920, into the Royal Irish Constabulary and came to be known, by the uniforms they wore, as the Black and Tans. They were not the sweepings of English goals as Irish propagandists claimed but their appearances hardly suggested that they had been selected, as Winston Churchill said, ""from a great press of applicants on account of their intelligence, their characters and their records in the war"". The author describes, with clarity, the military, political and economic events of the year 1920 which came to resemble ""a counter-murder association"" until the Truce declared in July of 1921 put an end to the ""Tan"" war. A dismal record from which few heroes emerge.

Pub Date: April 7th, 1960
ISBN: 1848843844
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin