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Portrait frontispiece. Dublin: Talbot Press, 1922. First edition. Crown octavo. pp. 153. Grey cloth. Portrait of Collins and title in black on upper cover. A fine copy.
Michael Collins (1890-1922), was born at Woodfield, Clonakilty, County Cork, the son of a small farmer. Educated locally and at the age of sixteen went to London as a clerk in the Post Office. He joined the IRB in London, during Easter Week he was Staff Captain and ADC to James Connolly in the GPO. With The O’Rahilly led the first party out of the GPO immediately before its surrender. Arrested, imprisoned and released in December 1916. After the victory of Sinn Féin in the 1918 general election and the establishment of Dáil Éireann as the Irish parliament he was made Minister of Home Affairs and later Minister for Finance, and organised the highly successful National Loan. A most capable organiser with great ability and physical energy, courage and force of character, he was simultaneously Adjutant General of the Volunteers, Director of Organisation, Director of Intelligence and Minister for Finance. He organised the supply of arms for the Volunteers and set up a crack intelligence network and an execution squad nicknamed ‘Twelve Apostles’. He was for a long time the most wanted man in Ireland but he practically eliminated the British Secret Service with the Bloody Sunday morning operation.
These articles and speeches in ‘The Path to Freedom’, first published in 1922, are written in a forceful and very personal style in which he evaluates our heritage, puts forward his arguments in favour of the Treaty, and shows the possibilities for an Ireland of the future. “Our strength”, he writes, “will depend upon our economic freedom and upon moral and intellectual force. In these we can be a shining light to the world.”
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