Available as e-book: 11th of February 2024
Print publication date: 17th of March 2024
As the aftermath of the Easter Rising descends into disaster, 17-year-old James becomes swept up in the intensity of Irish Nationalism. His carefree youth evaporates as he finds himself quietly drawn into the Cork No.1 Brigade, C Company, eventually responsible for taking on the Black and Tans in the centre of Cork City. As the only full-time member of the six -person Intelligence Squad and the 12-person Active Service Unit of Cork No. 1, James becomes deeply involved in the fight for Irish freedom. Working under the fierce leadership of Rebel Cork sets his life on a trajectory that he could never have imagined, and like many of his friends, did not expect to survive.
The anecdotes he shared with his granddaughter in his old age, hair-raising anecdotes of his life and activities, as well as the lives and activities of some of his closest friends and compatriots during the War of Independence and the Civil War, have been carefully researched and are the foundation of this story.
Praise for While Dragging Our Hearts Behind Us: Cork, 1916-1923
While Dragging Our Hearts Behind Us is a great story of hidden Irish history, just crying out to be told. Or, rather, a host of stories, some wildly incredible, some harrowing, some darkly funny – and all (mostly) true.
There are at least three great historical thrillers that might be drawn from Boni Thompson’s reconstruction of mysterious exploits, treasonous events, and the creation of an Irish state. There is a dash of fiction, a dash of myth-making, and a solid, satisfying deal of good old Irish story-telling.
A remarkable piece of historical research and recreation, it is the book that Cork and environs deserves in recognition of that area’s role in the struggle for independence. How the past becomes personal, and one man’s history and stories can become emblematic of the creation of the new nation.
A hugely satisfying, informative, and gripping read.
— John McRae