Review by Choice Review
Modern Irish Lives deserves an honored place among Ireland's standard biographical dictionaries, such as Alfred J. Webb's Compendium of Irish Biography (1878; repr. 1970), John S. Crone's Concise Dictionary of Irish Biography (1928; rev. ed., 1937), and Henry Boylan's Dictionary of Irish Biography (CH, Jun'79; 2nd ed., 1988). McRedmond's brief biographies of more than 1,400 Irish men and women, living and dead, from Eire and Northern Ireland make this the most comprehensive work available on 20th-century Ireland. Subjects in this engaging collection range from President Mary Robinson to musician Van Morrison. The longest entries, about one and a half pages each, go to such eminent figures as Eamon de Valera and William Butler Yeats. Although the selection criteria are clearly stated and followed, readers will be frustrated by the inconsistent style of entries and the lack of references for further reading. For some biographical details, one may need to consult other dictionaries or Maureen Cairnduff's Who's Who in Ireland: "The Influential 1,000" (1984; 2nd ed., 1991). In his introduction, McRedmond applauds the Royal Irish Academy's plans for a full-scale, and long-overdue, Irish dictionary of national biography. Huzza! Required for all Irish, research, and large public collections. J. D. Blackwell; Algoma University College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Containing the biographies of 1400 notable Irish men and women of the 20th century, this volume gathers its entries from a wide variety of more conventional reference works that many libraries may already own, such as Who's Who. Irish historian McRedmond and the publisher solicited candidates from over 40 consultants and researchers and then set "a draconian limit" on the number of entries. Because of this limit and the varying biographies used as sources, almost every reader will find omissions (nothing on Hannah Sheehy-Skeffington?) or irritating differences in the depth of information for each entry (e.g., the name of Joyce's children are given but not those of Yeats). Given this caveat, however, the result, covering people accomplished in every field from politics, law, and literature to music and sports, is an excellent way for a researcher to find basic information about Irish celebrities from Eamon de Valera to U2. Recommended for general collections.Shelley Cox, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.