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The battle for the General Post Office, 1916 

Another Kilmainham Tales author - this time prolific Paul O'Brien - has a new book in the the shops. New Island Books has published his latest book "Battleground" and it was launched in Books Upstairs, 17 D'Olier St., Dublin 2, on Thursday 28th May, 2015 be launched by author and historian Mícheál Ó Doibhilín, MD and founder of Kilmainham Tales Teo.

This is Paul's sixth and final book in his series on the major battlefields of the Easter Rising, and is worthy and unique contribution to the literature on the founding event of the Irish Republic.

Battleground – The Battle for the General Post Office, 1916 is a detailed account of the actions in the area of operations in and around the General Post Office. The building served as the General Headquarters of the Republican Army and witnessed some of the fiercest fighting of Easter Week as the beleaguered garrison fought against overwhelming odds.

Paul examines the battle militarily, bringing his forensic talents to bear to strip away the myths and expose the valour of all who fought.

Military historian Paul O’Brien is the author of Blood on the Streets: 1916 and the battle of Mount Street Bridge; Uncommon Valour: 1916 & the battle for the South Dublin Union; Shootout: The Battle for St. Stephen’s Green, 1916; Crossfire: The Battle of the Four Courts,1916, Field of Fire: The Battle of Ashbourne, 1916 and A Question of Duty: the Curragh Incident, 1914 

New Island editor Justin praised Paul and his series - but especially this book Battleground - not just for the detailed examination of the planning and execution of the Easter Rising, but his humanity, acknowledging that wars/rebellions consist of people. He quoted extracts from the book where Paul detailed the human cost of the Easter Rising on individuals. He added that New island were delighted to be associated with this seminal series of books by Paul.

Mícheál Ó Doibhilin expressed his pleasure at being asked to launch Battlefield. A friend and former work colleague of Paul's for many years, Mícheál mentioned many lessons he had learned from Paul - how to communicate and inform one's listeners/readers, educating them while entertaining and informing, and how to tell a 'story' in a way that piques interest, all traits, he said, that Paul espouses in his books.

Skill, humanity and truth all abound in these books and the six-part series as a whole is a must-have collection for anyone seriously interested in the Easter Rising. "Every one of them" he said, "is a rollicking good read, an engaging read that drags the reader into Paul;'s world, the world of the people, time and place he is describing. Through his eyes you ARE there".

Mícheál went on: "Others have written biographies of some of these people, and we may think we know them and what they did. But without reading these books of Paul’s we won’t know why. Paul is a military historian, and he has brought his interest and unique vision to bear on these events. He tells, truthfully, what happened, and examines the whys behind the events. He tells this honestly, and in a non-partisan way. Mistakes on both sides are acknowledged in a straightforward and unbiased manner, as are the things both sides got right.

With the information contained in Paul’s book, the understanding we get from this fine work and the five in the series that preceded it, we can now look forward to [celebrating the centenary of the Easter Rising] with pride, understanding and compassion.

Thank you Paul for doing us all a great service with this series. I recommend “Battlefield” to each and every one of you – buy it, read it, and let us all celebrate the story it tells so well".

Finally, Paul thanked everyone - especially his wife Marion (who was present with their first and adorable child Bláthnaid) and all in New Island for their support. He outlined his concept for the book, highlighted some points from it, and, in the Q&A that followed, he talked about his next project - a book about the Auxiliaries, and we look forward to reading that next year.

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