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Conor Cruise O’Brien’s brilliant and hugely controversial 1965 essay on the political convictions of W. B. Yeats is the title-piece for this superb 1988 collection of pieces on politics, religion, nationalism and terrorism.
‘O’Brien is a man of strong views, and he writes with verve and wit. Agree with him or not, one reads him with enjoyment.’ Foreign Affairs
‘[Passion and Cunning] displays once again [O’Brien’s] wonderful range of talents: a beautiful command of the language, gentle wit and coruscating satire, shrewd political judgment and a raking critical power. O’Brien is, moreover, a critic against all-comers, his spiky guns pointing in all directions: woe betide anyone incautious enough to presume that O’Brien is on their ‘side’. . . O’Brien believes in all manner of good causes, but his own independence is finally what he cares about most.’ R. W. Johnson, London Review of Books
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