The Irish Assassins: Conspiracy, Revenge and the Phoenix Park Murders That Stunned Victorian England


Product Details

$28.00  $26.04
Atlantic Monthly Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 1.7 inches | 1.75 pounds

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About the Author

Julie Kavanagh is the author of Secret Muses: The Life of Frederick Ashton; Nureyev: The Life, which was shortlisted for a Costa Book Award, the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award, and was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize; and The Girl who Loved Camellias. Kavanagh has held positions as the London editor of Vanity Fair and the New Yorker. She divides her time between London, North Wales, and Puglia.


Praise for The Irish Assassins:

"The tale of the Phoenix Park murders is not unfamiliar, but Kavanagh recounts it with a great sense of drama...Kavanagh's account reminds me of the very best of true crime, the sort that Dominick Dunne used to write for Vanity Fair. Like Dunne, Kavanagh never hurries; she takes the time to describe characters and places with exquisite detail. An engaging story is rendered beautiful because of the tiny ephemera that a less sensitive author might have carelessly discarded." --Times (UK)

"Journalist Kavanagh delivers a page-turning history of the murders of the chief secretary and the undersecretary for Ireland in May 1882...This entertaining and richly detailed chronicle offers fresh insights into a conflict whose repercussions are still felt today." --Publishers Weekly

"As true crime stories go, this one has it all: clandestine plotting, scandalous affairs, shadowy organizations, brutal murders, far-reaching political implications, and, for good measure, someone known as 'the Irish Sherlock Holmes.' . . . Kavanagh's gripping account of the murders is a stark reminder that history is a chaotic jumble of chance, circumstance, and opportunity, as much about what could have been as about what was." --Literary Hub

"In painstaking and sometimes-harrowing detail, journalist Kavanagh examines the fatal 1882 stabbings of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Burke. . . A cinematic, multilayered revenge tragedy centered on Ireland's fraught quest for independence." --Kirkus Reviews

"Enlightening, absorbing, and very exciting." --Lady Antonia Fraser

"Julie Kavanagh has taken a violent and sensational event, the assassination of two senior government official in Dublin in 1882, and placed it in a richly contextualized and many-layered historical setting. Using a wide range of sources and opening up new avenues of enquiry, she vividly demonstrates the convulsive reverberations of one violent act, tracing the shock-waves it sent into political salons at Westminster, cabins in County Donegal, court circles at Windsor, revolutionary cabals in Paris, the Irish leader Parnell's secret life in a London suburb, and the complex world of the transatlantic Irish diaspora. Consummately well-written and full of novel insights, this is the best kind of historical detective story." --R. F. Foster, Emeritus Professor of Irish History, University of Oxford

"In The Irish Assassins, Julie Kavanagh has brilliantly succeeded in making a complex sequence of events irresistibly accessible, providing an engrossing narrative that is violent, tragic, sometimes funny, extremely astute and remarkably well written." --Selina Hastings, author of Sybille Bedford: A Life

"This book is a fascinating, beautifully written account of an event whose consequences reverberate even today." --Tony Blair

"This is one of those rare books that is superbly written, tells me something I need to know, and which grips the imagination from first word to last. Julie Kavanagh has produced an engrossing account of revolutionary violence, political folly and human weakness. It is a powerful work." --Fergal Keane, BBC Ireland Correspondent

"In The Irish Assassins, Julie Kavanagh manages the extraordinary feat of guiding the reader through the complexities of Anglo-Irish politics while building the combined tension of an electric political thriller with a tragic love story. The people are real, the events still matter today and the impact is Shakespearean." --Ralph Fiennes

Praise for Julie Kavanagh:

"Ms. Kavanagh excels in describing the period." --Wall Street Journal, on The Girl Who Loved Camelias

"With her colorful new biography, The Girl Who Loved Camellias, Julie Kavanagh exposes the tawdry reality behind her heroine's legend. The author of an acclaimed life of Rudolf Nureyev, Kavanagh reveals that cold-eyed pragmatism, not saintly self-abnegation, formed the bedrock of Duplessis' character and career." --New York Times, on The Girl Who Loved Camelias

"In Nureyev: The Life, journalist and author Julie Kavanagh puts us in the midst of the people who surrounded Nureyev, supporting or battling him (or both) throughout his career... The book is dense with detail and character but haunted by a sense of loss." --Christian Science Monitor, on Nureyev

"Kavanagh gives us the fascinating details of the life of a modern-day genius in honest, thoroughly researched, achingly objective prose." --Denver Post, on Nureyev

"Julie Kavanagh's Nureyev: The Life offers a critically authoritative biography of the legendary dancer that should appeal to scholars and casual fans alike, combining exhaustive research with delightfully juicy, gossip-filled anecdotes to paint a remarkably full-blooded portrait...Nureyev is not propelled by exhaustive scholarship as much as terrific storytelling. Kavanagh seeds the book with vivid details." --Boston Globe, on Nureyev

"Julie Kavanagh, a British dance journalist who trained as a dancer and the author of Secret Muses: The Life of Frederick Ashton, has written a superbly researched biography of Nureyev." --New York Times, on Nureyev