Who's Afraid of the Easter Rising?
James Heartfield and Kevin Rooney

'If you want the advanced course in how the Irish changed history (perhaps more than they wanted to), I recommend the witty and surprising book “Who’s Afraid of the Easter Rising?” by radical historians James Heartfield and Kevin Rooney. They go deep into how the Rising has bedeviled Irish politicians and historians, and how its ripple effects were felt among anti-imperialist movements in India, Africa, the Caribbean and elsewhere.'  Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com

'I recommend this book', Professor Paul Bew

'An inspiring exploration of the armed uprising against the British government in Dublin in 1916,' Joanna Williams, Times Higher Education Supplement

'a penetrating reflection on the controversies surrounding the Dublin revolt of 1916 as its centenary year approaches,' Michael Fitzpatrick

'an interesting, valuable and timely short book on the 1916 Easter Rising and how it has been commemorated since 1966. ... a fine account of the Easter Rising and its context' Liam Ó Ruairc.

'charts the impact of the rising both in Irish historiography and Irish collective memory over the past century', Siobhan Morris, Institute of Historical Research


One hundred years ago, Easter 1916, Irish revolutionaries rose against the British Empire proclaiming a Republic from the steps of the General Post Office in Dublin. The men and women of the Easter Rising were defeated by the overwhelming force of the British Army, in five days of intense fighting. Their leaders were executed.

But the Easter Rising lit a fire that ended with the whole country turning against Westminsters rule, and founding a nation.

Today, the heirs to the Irish state are embarrassed about 1916. They are ashamed that their state owes its origins to a revolution. Along with academics and other commentators in the press and on television they dismiss the Rising as the work of violent fanatics, and the defeat of constitutional politics.

Who's Afraid of the Easter Rising? explains why today's Dublin elite are recoiling from the origins of their state in a popular struggle.

Where the critics paint the Rising as an armed conspiracy, we explain that it was in fact a revolt against war; not a militaristic upsurge, but the first challenge to the awful slaughter of the First World War. The Statesmen of Europe sacrificed millions upon the altar of war. Their recruiting sergeants in Ireland, Edward Carson and John Redmond sent 200,000 Irishmen into the slaughter and nearly 50,000 were killed. The Easter Rising drew a halt to British recruitment, and the blow to the Empire was the first crack in a growing revolt against the war, followed by the Russian Revolution in 1917, and the German revolution the following year which ended the conflict.

The Easter Rising was an inspiration to those who were challenging the Empires of Europe, from India to Vietnam, from New Zealand to Moscow; it was an inspiration to British activists like John Maclean and Sylvia Pankhurst; and it was an inspiration to the Irish men and women who rose up against British rule to free their nation.

Available from Amazon UK * Amazon UK

e-book price £6.99 || $9.99

Paperback price £11.99 || $20.95

Paperback: 168 pages

Publisher: Zero Books (27 Nov. 2015)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1782798870

ISBN-13: 978-1782798873



Past Events

Debating the Easter Rising with Liam McNulty at Ideas for Freedom, 9 July 2016



'How Revolutionary was the Easter Rising? Liverpool Central Library Saturday 21 May at 2pm.
Organised by supporters of Critique - the journal of socialist theory.


Event to mark the 100th anniversary of 1916
With John Newsinger, Chris Bambery, Catherine Bergin and James Heartfield

at the Institute of Historical Research,
University of London
Saturday 30th April, 12- 4pm


Easter Rising 1916 – Heroes or Villains?
With Kevin Rooney
Thursday 14th April 2016

 The Birmingham Salon





James Heartfield speaking Housmans Bookshop
Wednesday 6th April 2016

Islam TV, 23 and 30 March 2016

26 March 2016, History Matters: The Easter Rising 1916 to 2016

James Connolly and the Irish Easter Rising
Room 109, Deptford Town Hall, Goldsmiths. New Cross Road.
Wednesday, 23 March, 18:30

Speakers: James Heartfield and Cathy Nugent, Workers' Liberty

Dublin Salon, 15 November 2015, with Margaret O'Callaghan, Justyn Smith, Kevin Rooney and Derek Molyneux

Accent, 3 November 2015, Bedford Square, London

Battle of Ideas,  18 October 2015, with James Heartfield, Paul Bew and Ruth Dudley Edwards Open on SoundCloud

CPGB Conference, 22 August 2015, Goldsmiths