Ireland during the Second World War

Farewell to Plato’s Cave

By Bryce Evans

Ireland during the Second World War


  • Paperback
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8951-0
  • Pages: 208
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: February 2014
  • BIC Category: Sociology, Second World War, Modern warfare, Ireland, European history, c 1940 to c 1949, HISTORY / Europe / Ireland, Humanities / Second World War


In the first book detailing the social and economic history of Ireland during the Second World War, Bryce Evans reveals the real story of the Irish emergency. Revealing just how precarious the Irish state's economic position was at the time, the book examines the consequences of Winston Churchill's economic war against neutral Ireland. It explores how the Irish government coped with the crisis and how ordinary Irish people reacted to emergency state control of the domestic marketplace. A hidden history of black markets, smugglers, rogues and rebels emerges, providing a fascinating slice of real life in Ireland during a crucial period in world history. As the first comparison of economic and social conditions in Ireland with those of the other European neutral states - Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Portugal - the book will make essential reading for the informed general reader, students and academics alike.


"For historians, magpies novelists and anyone interested in Irish life at this time, Evan's book is an informative and often cativating read."

(Dermot Bolger, Sunday Business Post, April 2014)

"Bryce Evan's new book raises a number of important issues, which go far beyond the traditional focus within the literature on diplomacy, neutrality and security"

(Andy Bielenberg, Irish Times, July 2014)

'Ireland during the Second World War: Farewell to Plato's Cave is a rewarding if at times demanding read. It provides a valuable insight into Irish society and demonstrates that Ireland was not just the postcolonial backwater of popular memory until the boom of the 1950s. We can hope that Evans's revisionist interpretation of the Irish home front during the Emergency will lead to revisionist interpretations of other elements of Irish history during the Emergency and beyond.'
Augustine Meaher, Air University, H-War April 2017


Bryce Evans is Lecturer in Modern History at Liverpool Hope University


1. Introduction: farewell to Plato's cave
2. Anglo-Irish trade and business relations
3. Moral policemen of the domestic economy
4. Conditions in town and country
5. Smuggling
6. Church and state
7. Coercion in the countryside
8. The state and the small man
9. Conclusions

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