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Guy Beiner, who is professor of modern history at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, has written one of the longest and certainly one of the most extraordinary recent contributions to the historiography of Ireland and of memory studies. His new book, Forgetful Remembering: Social Forgetting and Vernacular Historiography of a Rebellion in Ulster(Oxford University Press, 2018), argues for the complexities and ambiguities of communal recollection by focusing on the contested memories of one of the shortest and certainly the bloodiest of politically driven Irish insurrections. In 1798, Catholics, protestants and dissenters joined together in armed uprisings against British state forces. Their defeat was followed by prolonged and traumatic reprisals, and by the union of the British and Irish parliaments to create a new “United Kingdom.” Within a decade of their participation in the rebellion, protestants and dissenters had swung to support the new state, beginning a long process of forgetting and remembering that continues to the present day. How and why do communities forget and remember these moments of collective trauma? Beiner’s ground-breaking argument offers new insights, new lines of inquiry, and some startling new conclusions.

Crawford Gribben is a professor of history at Queen’s University Belfast. His research interests focus on the history of puritanism and evangelicalism, and he is the author most recently of John Owen and English Puritanism (Oxford University Press, 2016).

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