Michael Collins’ Own Story. Told to Hayden Talbot (Rare Books)
With an introduction by Éamonn de Búrca. Dublin: De Búrca, November, 2012. pp. 256, plus index. Full buckram gilt. In pictorial dust jacket.
The American journalist Hayden Talbot first met Michael Collins at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin, shortly after the signing of the Anglo-Irish treaty in December 1921. In the course of his working career Talbot had met many important people, but he soon realised that Collins was one of the most remarkable. He admits he had underestimated Collins before he got to know him, but Collins quickly earned his respect – not least by his habit of treating everyone, from Arthur Griffith to the “lowliest of his supporters”, with equal consideration and politeness. Talbot made it his business to meet Collins as often as possible and during months of close association Collins impressed him as “the finest character it had ever been my good fortune to know”. He valued their friendship more than any other.
This work contains an invaluable insight into Collins’ thinking and actions during this epic period of Irish history. It deals at length with Easter Week, The Black and Tans, The Murder of Francis Sheehy Skeffington, the Treaty negotiations and his vision for the resurgent nation which, unfortunately he was given too little time to develop in practice. Rare interviews with Arthur Griffith and Eoin MacNeill further enhance this book, which has long been out of print and hard to find in the antiquarian book market.
Originally published in 1922, our edition has a new introduction and an index which was not in the first edition.