Eva Gore-Booth

An image of such politics

By Sonja Tiernan

Eva Gore-Booth


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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8231-3
  • Pages: 296
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: May 2012
  • BIC Category: Biography & True Stories / Biography: historical, political & military, Ireland, European history, Biography: literary, Biography: historical, political & military, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, Modern History, History, HISTORY / Europe / Ireland, Biography & True Stories / Biography: literary, Humanities / British & Irish history


This is the first biography of the extraordinary Irish woman, Eva Gore-Booth. Gore-Booth rejected her aristocratic heritage, choosing to live and work amongst the poorest classes in industrial Manchester. Her work on behalf of barmaids, circus acrobats, flower sellers and pit-brow lasses is traced in this book. During one impressive campaign Gore-Booth orchestrated the defeat of Winston Churchill.

Gore-Booth published volumes of poetry, philosophical prose and plays, becoming a respected and prolific author of her time and part of W.B. Yeats's literary circle. The story of Gore-Booth's life is captivating. Her close bond with her sister, an iconic Irish nationalist, provides a new insight into Countess Markievicz's personal life.

Gore-Booth's life story vividly traces her experiences of issues such as militant pacifism during the Great War, the case for the reprieve of Roger Casement's death sentence, sexual equality in the workplace and the struggle for Irish independence.


'Those who enjoyed Sonja Tiernan's account of Eva Gore-Booth's fight for the rights of barmaids are sure to enjoy her full-length account of her life, Eva Gore-Booth: an image of such politics, which is the first biography of its subject. The younger sister of Constance Gore-Booth (a.k.a. Countess Markiewicz), Eva Gore-Booth was a committed social radical and reformer who turned her back on her aristocratic heritage and was immortalised along with her sister by Yeats (the poem in question was read out by no less than leonard Cohen at his 2010 gig at their ancestral home, Lissadell). Eva Gore-Booth lead a life that was surely as interesting as that of Constance, and this lively biography brings her out of her older sister's shadow.'
History Ireland (July/August 2012), p. 57.

'I was pleased to find this biography of Eva Gore-Booth...This is the first time that Eva, who was in many ways more radical [than her sister] has been given her due...there is much here of interest to those keen on the politics of the labour movement and women's suffrage'
Jad Adams, The Oldie, February 2013

'Tiernan has produced a vivid picture of an independent spirit.'
Deirdre Toomey, Yeats Annual No. 21: A Special Issue


Introducing the Gore-Booth family
1 Life in the big house: childhood and Lissadell
2 A pair of oddities: meeting Esther Roper
3 The birth of a rebel: social reform in Manchester
4 Sadder and wiser women: Lancashire trade unions
5 Women who kick, shriek, bite and spit: suffragists and suffragettes
6 Defending barmaids: legislative proposals and Winston Churchill
7 World War One: from trade unionism to peace movements
8 Conscientious objectors and revolution: world war and an Irish rebellion
9 Roger Casement and the aftermath of the Easter Rising
10 Prison reform and military conscription in Ireland
11 Radical sexual politics and post-war religion
12 Final years
Bibliography of Archival Sources
Major publications by Eva Gore-Booth


Sonja Tiernan is a Research Fellow at University College Dublin

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