Books: Blood, Peat & Tea

A TERRIBLE BEAUTY (344 pp.)—Arthur J. Roth—Farrar, Straus & Cudahy ($3.95).

It was a great day for the Irish (and for everyone else) when they decided to write as well as fight. Irish society—provincial yet picturesque, with its deep conflicts between Celtic and Anglo-Saxon ways, between priesthood and peasantry, its sense of tragedy and the merciless compulsion of its members to explain themselves literately at the top of their voices—is itself a book already half-written. These days there is nothing like the Troubles going on in Ireland, but there is still a spot of trouble—enough for a headline or two and many...

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