Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Socialist Realism Gone Wild: Stalinist Propaganda in the Soviet Empire

"Worker and Collective Farm Woman" statue by Vera Mukhina (1937).

What exactly is socialist realism? “It demands of the artist the truthful, historically concrete representation of reality in its revolutionary development. Moreover, the truthfulness and historical correctness of the artistic representation of reality must be linked with the task of ideological transformation and education of workers in the spirit of socialism.” Its power lie in its simplicity. It was to be: proletarian, significant to the workers and understandable to them; typical, presenting the everyday life of the people; realistic, in the representational sense; and partisan, supportive of the goals of the Party and the State.

Watch this video, "Soviet Kitsch," to see socialist realism go over the top in Stalin's U.S.S.R.

Socialist realism on Soviet Rouble coin from 1924.
The goal of socialist realism was to elevate the common worker, presenting his life, work, and leisure time as significant and important. Painters filled canvases with strong, cheerful workers and peasants in factories and collective farms. Popular subjects included industrial and agricultural landscapes, glorifying the achievements of the Soviet economy.
Berlin (East), Stalinallee, Block A, lithography, 1952.

A close look at East Berlin socialist realism

Richard Carter gives us a closer look at the Stalin Allee: “see how ornate the detailing is on the building[s]…All the buildings from this phase [1951-53] are clad in ceramic tiles, many of them from Meissen…” He describes scenes on the tiles of workers engaged in different activities, which is typical of socialist realism.

Detail from building on Stalin Allee, East Berlin, including representation of workers.

Planned as an antithesis to the “run down working class areas of capitalist Berlin before the war,” the Stalin Allee was a showplace for the workers to be proud of--not a bleak, run-down section of tenements that would be a source of shame. The buildings of socialist realism are often referred to as being “typical socialist wedding-cake style.” They are also “monumental” in size and can be difficult to photograph.

Massive socialist realism statue of Stalin and Soviet fighters in World War II.

Please click here to read the blog post "STALINMANIA: The Soviet Dictator in Propaganda, Art and Advertising"

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Socialist realism in public art during Stalin's reign.
This video is about statues from Stalinist Hungary and a statue park outside of Budapest. The host of the video mistakenly calls the art "social realism" instead of socialist realism. It is socialist realism. "Social realism" is different.

Warsaw's Palace of Culture and Science: socialist realism gone wild!

Flowers for Stalin by Boris Vladimirski, 1949.

Copyright (C) 2011 Eric Brothers. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Every capitalist should have a copy of Chairman Mao's "Little Red Book" on their desk and a poster of the rock stars of Communism--Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao--on their wall!

Comrades! The regimes are gone. Communism is virtually wiped off the globe except for a few hot spots that are gasping their last proletarian breaths. But you can relive the "good old days" of the Cold War and nuclear proliferation--with affordable communist propaganda souvenirs found on the Internet and at tourist kiosks throughout Eastern Europe and China. You can also relive the "good old days" of the Soviet Union, East Germany, and other communist countries in nostalgic videos. Just sit down in front of your computer, type in "Communist propaganda souvenirs" on your web browser and hit "Enter"--and before you can say "domino theory" you will be engulfed by a world of delightful kitsch from "Red" China, "Soviet" Russia, and other countries from behind the "Iron Curtain." "Iron Curtain"?--that sounds like the name of a heavy-metal rock band from Sweden!

A Joseph Stalin watch is the perfect gift for employees, colleagues, family or friends. The formidable bust of "Uncle Joe" is centered upon a kitschy map of the old Soviet Union. Designed and crafted by Russian workers, you'll be lucky if it works after the first day!

Who doesn't miss the Cold War days when the "Soviet Union" was a superpower? Choose from an array of Soviet propaganda posters in bold multi-cultural colors and anti-Imperialist themes!

Are you nostalgic for the Soviet Union? Then watch this video.

This unusual collectible will be the center of conversation for years to come! Who wouldn't want to be an Australian communist after seeing a kangaroo and ostrich holding up the hammer and sickle in a smashing star-burst design?

Wouldn't it be great to start each day with a cup of Joe in a cup of Joe--Joe Stalin that is! Yes, you can purchase this handsome and practical collectible at the Stalin museum somewhere in Russia.

Display your pride in the German Democratic Republic--even though the nation no longer exists--with this handsome shirt. The colorful emblem of East Germany looks great on the blue shirt with the nation's German language initials "DDR" above it. Made in Bangladesh with pride.

Nostalgic for the GDR? Take a look at this video.

Remember the Bay of Pigs? The Cuban Missile Crisis? The 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid? Relive those "glory days" with matching U.S. and U.S.S.R. "Let's Live in Peace" shopping bags. Available in red and gold (Soviet) and red, white and blue (U.S.A.). Crafted in Pakistan.

Choose from a wide variety of figurines of your favorite communist dictators and theorists! From Marx to Mao--the perfect gift for your relative who gets sad remembering how good the Cold War was compared to 9/11 and Islamic terrorism around the world.

Copyright (C) Eric Brothers. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Smile and say, "Brutal dictatorship!"  Obama welcomes Chinese president Hu Jintao to the White House.  The US honors the leader of the nation with perhaps the worst record of human rights violations.

The US has asked Chinese government officials in Beijing to end the "extralegal" detention and "enforced disappearance" of leading lawyers and rights activists.

"The United States is increasingly concerned by the apparent extralegal detention and enforced disappearance of some of China's most well-known lawyers and activists, many of whom have been missing since mid-February," State Department spokesman P J Crowley said.

It seems that the Chinese soldiers have mistaken that Tibetan monk for a piƱata!
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 According to a report in Time magazine, "...dozens of well-known lawyers and activists across China ... have vanished, been interrogated or criminally detained for subversion in recent weeks, a crackdown that human rights groups say is on a scale and intensity not seen in many years."

Crowley says that well-known Chinese such as Teng Biao, Tang Jitian Jiang Tianyong and Gu Chuan have all "disappeared" between February 16 and 19 of this year.  "We have expressed our concern to the Chinese Government over the use of extralegal punishments against these and other human rights activists," he said.

The Chinese leader insists that most Chinese people are happy and productive.
China uses a wide array of illegal measures to silence independent voices, including house arrest, 24-hour surveillance and coerced stays in government guest houses. These tactics are especially common around politically sensitive occasions such as the national legislature's annual session earlier this month.

Here's a report on the persecution of the Falun Gong in China.

The United States continues to urge China to uphold its internationally recognized obligations of universal human rights, including the freedoms of expression, association, and assembly, he also said.  Additionally the US remains concerned about the treatment of journalists in China.

A report by Amnesty International, Death Sentences and Executions 2009, tells us that China again refused to divulge exact figures on its use of the death penalty.  It is impossible to pinpoint the exact number of executions because that information is classified as a state secret; anyone disclosing state secrets can be held criminally responsible.  Thus Amnesty International does not know the exact number of executions carried out in 2009.

This happy Chinese family gladly does what the government tells them with no questions!

Evidence from previous years, however, as well as current sources indicates that the figure is in the thousands. Capital punishment is applicable to approximately 68 offenses in China, including non-violent ones. No one who is sentenced to death in China receives a fair trial in accordance with international human rights standards. Many confessions of guilt have been accepted despite stating in court that these were extracted under torture; the accused have to prove themselves innocent, rather than be proven guilty; and accused have had limited access to legal counsel.

Well, at least the Chinese don't use the guillotine!

Amnesty International reports that Chinese methods "of execution in 2009 included hanging, shooting, beheading, stoning, electrocution and lethal injection." 

Here a defendant is waiting for her attorney to arrive to discuss her case.  Unfortunately, she may not be able to see him when he arrives.  It seems that the soldiers have decided to catch up on their target practice.
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The Chinese president says his people mind their own business and don't bother the government about silly things like "freedom," "human rights," and "rule of law."

In order to punish the Chinese for their endless list of rights abuses, Chinese President Hu Jintao was invited as an honored guest to Washington, D.C. in January for a state visit that included high-profile talks with Obama on trade, currency, North Korea and other issues.

Prisoners in China are trained by their guards in Olympic gymnastic exercises.  But for some reason, however, the prisoner is expected to perform gymnastics with his hands bound.

The three-day trip included a state dinner on Wednesday--a special honor for the brutal dictatorship that is our valued Asian trade partner--and the eighth face-to-face meeting between Obama and the Chinese leader.  According to administration officials, this meeting is important because business leaders force the government to do business with China even though they imprison, torture, otherwise brutalize, deport, trample upon civil rights and kill their own people.  The abuse doesn't even end when they are dead.  Internal organs are removed from the corpses and sold to Westerners needing transplants at about $50,000 a pop. (Please see video report below)

Here's a report on how executed Chinese "donate" their organs for transplant patients.

Dr. Hannibal Lechter is in charge of the nation-wide Chinese liver transplant program.
Business leaders have the foresight and vision to see beyond that.  What they see beyond that is money.  It seems that that is just the cost of doing business with China.  And what are some of the benefits that the American people reap from trade with China?  They get lots of crappy products they can get elsewhere, including poisoned food and toys made with lead, which they probably don't want to get elsewhere.

Hu Jintao tells President Obama not to mettle in Chinese affairs.  Now is that any way for a guest to behave?

The Chinese state media, which is run by the government and does not even know what "freedom of the press" means--reported that Hu's goal in the visit was to stress how a constructive, comprehensive partnership between the two nations could be mutually beneficial. Of course, Obama discussed the need for China to respect the human and civil rights of its people.  In response, the Chinese leader laughed politely and handed Obama a fortune cookie.  It seems that a constructive, comprehensive partnership is one in which China holds all the cards and the U.S. makes believe that it has concerns over rights' abuses without doing anything of any consequence to force China's hand to change.  That must be what is called "diplomacy."

Dr. Lechter has taught Chinese soldiers how to remove the liver before executing a prisoner, which saves time.  For some reason, this man does not want his liver removed before having his head cut off.
"It is more important to honor and remember those who cannot attend this State Dinner rather than those who will be in attendance," said a statement by the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition. "While the guests are dining on expensive and extravagant food there will be scores who will be oppressed and placed behind bars by the Chinese government because of their faith and political beliefs; people like Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo who is in prison," and others.

  Here's a report on Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is being detained in a Chinese prison.

Fourteen American executives were invited to a meeting hosted by Obama and Hu Jintao, and were joined by four Chinese corporation heads. It wasn't specified what was discussed behind closed doors, but exports and investment in the United States were believed to have been key topics. Before the meeting, the Obama administration announced $45 billion in new contracts that it said will increase U.S. exports to China and support an estimated 235,000 American jobs.   The White House said 11 investment contracts worth $3.24 billion have been signed with China, and $13.1 billion worth of "other transactions" are being "announced or showcased."   What's a few hundred thousand crushed skulls when billions of dollars are hanging (no pun intended) in the balance?

Hu Jintao enjoys a meal at the White House while thousands of Chinese are brutalized, executed and then have their innards plucked out and tossed into a cooler filled with ice.
Copyright (C) Eric Brothers 2011.  All Rights Reserved.

Monday, March 21, 2011

STALINMANIA: The Soviet Dictator in Propaganda, Art and Advertising

"Rainbow Stalin" by dattedaisuke (C).

The image of Joseph Stalin, the brutal Soviet dictator, has been appearing with greater frequency over the past several years.  He is seen in pop art, advertising, satire, and illustrations.  Historically he was the subject of socialist realism art and other media.  It seems as if there is a Stalin "revival" in the works.

"Green Stalin" by Rinat Shingareev.

According to the EUObserver.com (Oct. 26, 2009), "Russian news agency Ria Novosti is rolling out a new public relations campaign in the political capital of the European Union which, according to sources in the PR industry, aims to justify Russia's great power ambitions and improve the image of Joseph Stalin."

The article says that a senior executive at the PR firm in question recalled one particular exchange with the RJI Companies envoy: "I asked him 'Do you want us to say that Stalin was not such a bad guy?' And he said 'Well, I know it will be difficult.' I said 'So, you want history to be rewritten?' And he said 'Yes, in a way'."
Stalin in socialist realism style poster from 1930s.

"Expect to see more articles in European newspapers saying that Stalin had his good points as well," the PR executive said.  While this post is not part of a campaign to "rehabilitate" or "promote" Stalin, it does present different artists visions of the brutal Soviet leader who is responsible for the deaths of millions of his own citizens.

Please see below for a video report on a Soviet-era "theme park" called Stalin World.

The image of Stalin graces a public bus in Russia.

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Stalin is advertising a rock radio station in Greece.
The image of Stalin is appearing on billboards in Russia.
"The Canonization of Joseph Stalin" (artist unknown)

Comrades!  Share this post with your loyal party comrades on Facebook and Twitter.  The links are on the right-hand column of this blog.  If you don't share this post, you may hear a knock on your door after midnight.  Sweet dreams, comrades!  Oh, you noticed that this is on here twice!  Very good, comrade!

Above is the complete documentary "Stalin: Man of Steel."

"Stalin" by Pablo Picasso (1953).
Watch this video report about "Stalin World"--a Stalinist "theme park" in Lithuania.

Yes, Stalin is even in a video game fighting Martians!
 Copyright (C) Eric Brothers.  All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bernanke "Very Sorry" Federal Reserve was Responsible for Great Depression

Bernanke: "Regarding the Great Depression. You're right, we did it. We're very sorry...."
On November 8, 2002, Ben S. Bernanke, at the time a Governor of the Federal Reserve, made a speech in honor of Milton Friedman, an economic historian and professor at the University of Chicago. At the end of his speech he said, "Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative fo the Federal Reserve. I would like to say to Milton[...]: Regarding the Great Depression. You're right, we did it. We're very sorry...."

The Federal Reserve is "very sorry" for Great Depression.

I must say that the above statement is truly significant, considering the results of the Great Depression in the United States and around the world. If there was no Great Depression, then National Socialism would never have become as popular as it became. It was the terrible economic situation in Germany that made Nazism--and Hitler specifically--winners in a series of elections in 1932. The bottom line is: No Great Depression=No Hitler!

No Great Depression = no Hitler!

The Federal Reserve--an institution that is not Federal and is a series of privately owned banks--has total control over the money supply of the United States with no oversight whatsoever. And has had control over it since the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. And, in regards to its responsibility for the Great Depression, Mr. Bernanke says, "We're very sorry...."

But how "sorry" is he? With no Great Depression, there would have been no Hitler as I stated above. But Hitler threw the world into a war that we call World War II. How many people died in World War II as a result of the Federal Reserve's fiscal irresponsibility? Let's take a look at some numbers.
Is the Federal Reserve "very sorry" for the Holocaust?

According to dozens of documents cited in Wikipedia, the number of dead in World War II is between 62,580,670 and 79,298,170. That includes all military and civilian deaths including the Holocaust. But it doesn't stop there. If the Federal Reserve is blamed for the Great Depression, then it must be blamed for the rise to power of Hitler and the results of World War II. The results of World War II include the Cold War and the nuclear arms race. But we must not forget what the Great Depression did to the United States:
  • 13 million people became unemployed. In 1932, 34 million people belonged to families with no regular full-time wage earner.
  • Industrial production fell by nearly 45% between 1929 and 1932.
  • Home building dropped by 80% between the years 1929 and 1932.
  • In the 1920s, the banking system in the U.S. was about $50 billion, which was about 50% of GDP.
  • From 1929 to 1932, about 5,000 banks went out of business.
  • By 1933, 11,000 of the U.S. 25,000 banks had failed.
  • Between 1929 and 1933, U.S.GDP fell around 30%, the stock market lost almost 90% of its value.
  • In 1929, the unemployment rate averaged 3%.
  • In 1933, 25% of all workers and 37% of all non-farm workers were unemployed.
  • In Cleveland the unemployment rate was 50%; in Toledo, Ohio 80%.
  • Over one million families lost their farms between 1930 and 1934.
  • Corporate profits had dropped from $10 billion in 1929 to $1 billion in 1932.
  • Between 1929 and 1932, the income of the average American family was reduced by 40%.
  • Nine million savings accounts had been wiped out between 1930 and 1933.
  • 273,000 families had been evicted from their homes in 1932.
    • There were two million homeless people migrating around the country.
    • Over 60% of Americans were categorized as poor by the federal government in 1933.
    • In the early 1930s, more people emigrated from the United States than immigrated to it.
    • With little economic activity there was scant demand for new coinage. No nickels or dimes were minted in 1932–33, no quarter dollars in 1931 or 1933, no half dollarsfrom 1930–32, and no silver dollars in the years 1929–33.
    • The U.S. government sponsored a Mexican Repatriation program which was intended to encourage people to voluntarily move to Mexico, but thousands, including some U.S. citizens, were deported against their will. Altogether about 400,000 Mexicans were repatriated.
    • New York social workers reported that 25% of all schoolchildren were malnourished. In the mining counties of West Virginia, Illinois, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, the proportion of malnourished children was perhaps as high as 90%.
    • Many people became ill with diseases such as tuberculosis (TB).
    Is the Federal Reserve "very sorry" for Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
    If the Federal Reserve is indeed "very sorry" for the Great Depression perhaps it should also take responsibility for throwing our economy into recessions and mini-depressions every ten years. It makes no sense that a "democracy" has private bankers and banks--whose main concern is making themselves a profit--controlling the money supply of the United States. When the government and the citizenry of the U.S. lose money the Fed makes money! The Federal Reserve made a profit of $45 billion in 2009 and $78.4 billion in 2010.
    So how "sorry" is Mr. Bernanke after all?

    Copyright (C) Eric Brothers. All Rights Reserved.

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Irish Blood on the Street: the Easter Rising of 1916

    One of two Irish flags flown atop the General Post Office in Dublin during the Rising.
    On Easter Monday, April, 26, 1916, in front of the General Post Office (GPO) in Dublin, Ireland, Patrick Pearse read his Proclamation of the Irish Republic: "Irishmen and Irish women. ... we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades in arms to the cause of its freedom..."
    Rebel leader Patrick Pearse.

    Patrick Pearce

    Malachy Mccourt tells us that Pearse was, “a man who thinks with his heart and feels with his mind ... a poet, a teacher, a revolutionary.” Pearse was brought into the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) by the end of 1913. That same year saw the Irish Volunteers training in order to defend Home Rule if civil war broke out with the Unionists.

    James Connolly

    Born in 1868 in the Cowgate, Edinburgh in Scotland, he grew up in abject poverty. The Irish in Edinburgh were forced to live in the worst slums due to strong anti-Irish sentiments among the Scots. ‘Little Ireland’ was known for overcrowding, poverty, disease, drunkenness and unemployment. Arriving in Dublin around 1892, Connolly formed the Irish Socialist Republican Party (ISRP). He argued that traditional Marxist determinism was irrelevant in Ireland, due to the English ruination of Irish economic development. He also formed the Irish Citizens Army.
    The Easter Rising
    Monday, April 24. Arthur Norway, head of the Irish Post Office, witnessed the rebel storming of the GPO. About 150 rebels under the command of James Connolly and Patrick Pearse marched up O’Connell Street to the Imperial Hotel. Suddenly, Connolly gave a command to wheel left and charge the GPO. Helena Molony, along with nine other women members of the Irish Citizens Army, left Liberty Hall. Dressed in an Irish tweed costume, she had a revolver tucked into her belt. James Connolly, who gave the women the weapons, told them, “Don’t use them except in the last resort.”

    Eamon Bulfin’s detachment saw a company of mounted lancers charging the GPO with sabers drawn. Rebel fire greeted them, killing four and scattering the rest of them. Bulfin got into the GPO, and Pearse sent him to the roof to hoist a green flag decorated with a golden harp and the words, “Irish Republic.”

    A barricade made of carts in Great Brunswick Street, Dublin, during the Easter Rising.

    Helena Molony was on the roof of the City Hall when she saw a stray bullet hit Sean Connolly. “He was bleeding very much from the stomach. I said the Act of Contrition into his ear, We had no priest.”
    FrIday, April 28. Dick Humphreys manned his position in the GPO. What does he see that morning? “Clouds of grey smoke are wreathing around everywhere. ..Occasionally some side wall or roof falls in with a terrific crash. The heat is stupefying, and a heavy odor of burning cloth permeates the air. All the barbaric splendor that night had lent the scene has now faded away, and the pitiless sun illuminates the squalidness and horror of the destruction.”

    Nurse O’Farrell was in the “White House.” Entering the parlor, she found “James Connolly lying on a stretcher in the middle of the room. I went over and asked him how he felt; he answered: ‘Bad,’ and remarked: ‘The soldier who wounded me did a good day’s work for the British government’.”
    O’Farrell continues, “There were 17 wounded in the retreat from the GPO, and I spent the night helping to nurse them. Around us we could hear the roar of burning buildings, machine guns and at intervals what seemed to be hand grenades.”

    The uprising lasted until Saturday, and, when the dust settled, sixty-four rebels and 300 civilians were dead. At 3:45 PM that day, Pearse signed a general order instructing the insurgents to surrender. Connolly, who had been taken to a Red Cross HospitaI in Dublin Castle, countersigned the Order. How many loses did the British suffer? “Officers 17 killed, 46 wounded. Other ranks 89 killed, 288 wounded.”
    James Connolly.

    Aftermath of the Easter Rising

    Initially, the majority of the Irish people were against the rebels. Most people had no problem with British rule. No more than a few thousand men and women took part in the Easter Rising, both in Dublin and the countryside. Patrick Pearse delivered a speech from the dock during his court-martial that ended with, “If you strike us down now, we shall rise again and renew the fight. You cannot conquer Ireland; you cannot extinguish the Irish passion for freedom; if our deed has not been sufficient to win freedom, then our children will win it by a better deed.”  James Connolly, ill in the hospital, wrote on May 9, 1916: “We succeeded in proving that Irishmen are ready to die endeavoring to win for Ireland those national rights which the British Government has been asking them to die to win for Belgium.... I personally thank God that I have lived to see the day when thousands of Irish men and boys, and hundreds of Irish women and girls, were ready to affirm that truth, and to attest it with their lives if need be.”

    The cross marks the spot where James Connolly was executed by the British while sitting in a chair. He was dying of gangrene poisoning when he was shot.

    Irish patriots are executed by British

    The Irish of Dublin turned on the rebels. Threats and jeers greeted the rebels as they were marched off to prison. What turned the tide of Irish public opinion, however, was the heavy-handed British reaction. Fourteen of the Rising’s leaders, including Pearse and his brother (who was not a leader), were court-martialed and executed by firing squad. Connolly’s ankle was shattered by a bullet during the Rising, and gangrene had set in. Nonetheless, the British insisted on executing him.

    Father Aloysius was with Connolly at the end: “They carried him...to the jail yard and put him in a chair. [He was strapped into the chair].... I said to him, “Will you pray for the men who are about to shoot you?” and he said, “I will say a prayer for all brave men who do their duty.” His [said his prayer] and then they shot him.”

    Excerpt from James Connolly's last statement:
    Believing that the British Government has no right in Ireland, never had any right in Ireland, and never can have any right in Ireland, the presence, in any one generation of Irishmen, of even a respectable minority, ready to die to affirm that truth, makes that Government for ever a usurpation and a crime against human progress. I personally thank God that I have lived to see the day when thousands of Irish men and boys, and hundreds of Irish women and girls, were ready to affirm that truth, and to attest it with their lives if need be.
    Photo of Irish rebels during the Easter Rising of 1916.

    International reaction to execution on James Connolly

    Irish and international reaction to that manner of punishment was horror and disgust. Connolly was the last man to be executed. The other 97 men sentenced to death had their sentences commuted. McCourt writes, “Not only was the Irish public more and more revolted by the British reprisals, but the world in general was sharing in the feeling of revulsion. While militarily the uprising was in many ways a fiasco, as a bloody, symbolic protest, it was enormously successful.”

    How successful was It? Six years later, in 1922, a new nation stepped upon the world’s stage: the Irish Free State.


    Coogan, Tim Pat. Ireland in the Twentieth Century. Palgrove MacMillian, 2004.

    McCourt, Malachy. Malachy McCourt's History of Ireland. Running Press. Philadelphia, 2004.

    Copyright (C) Eric Brothers 2011. All Rights Reserved.

    This post is dedicated to Mary Claire McCarthy of Worcester, MA.