Great Hatred

The Assassination of Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson MP

Great Hatred
Ronan McGreevy
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A gripping investigation into one of Irish history' s greatest mysteries, Great Hatred reveals the true story behind one of the most significant political assassinations to ever have been committed on British soil. ' Heart-stopping . . . The book is both forensic and a page-turner, and ultimately deeply tragic, for Ireland as much as for the murder victim. ' MICHAEL PORTILLO' Gripping from start to finish. McGreevy turns a forensic mind to a political assassination that changed the course of history, uncovering a trove of unseen evidence in the process. ' ANITA ANAND, author of The Patient Assassin' Thoughtful and well-researched . . . an important and valuable addition to the library of the Irish Revolution. ' PROFESSOR DIARMAID FERRITER, University College DublinOn 22 June 1922, Sir Henry Wilson - the former head of the British army and one of those credited with winning the First World War - was shot and killed by two veterans of that war turned IRA members in what was the most significant political murder to have taken place on British soil for more than a century. His assassins were well-educated and pious men. One had lost a leg during the Battle of Passchendaele. Shocking British society to the core, the shooting caused consternation in the government and almost restarted the conflict between Britain and Ireland that had ended with the Anglo-Irish Treaty just five months earlier. Wilson' s assassination triggered the Irish Civil War, which cast the darkest of shadows over the new Irish State. Who ordered the killing? Why did two English-born Irish nationalists kill an Irish-born British imperialist? What was Wilson' s role in the Northern Ireland government and the violence which matched the intensity of the Troubles fifty years later? Why would Michael Collins, who risked his life to sign a peace treaty with Great Britain, want one of its most famous soldiers dead, and how did the Wilson assassination lead to Collins' tragic death in an ambush two months later? Drawing upon newly released archival material and never-before-seen documentation, Great Hatred is a revelatory work that sheds light on a moment that changed the course of Irish and British history for ever.
Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter and videographer with the Irish Times. He is the author of the book Wherever the Firing Line Extends: Ireland and the Western Front. He was made a Chevalier de l' Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government for his work on remembrance and the First World War. He is also the editor of Centenary, Ireland remembers 1916, the official State book recalling the commemorations of 2016. He is also the editor of Was It for This? Reflections on the Easter Rising, an anthology of commentary on the Easter Rising, published in 2016. He is the presenter of the full-length First World War documentary United Ireland: How Nationalists and Unionists Fought Together in Flanders, which was shortlisted for best film at the Imperial War Museum' s short film competition in 2018.