This collection of historical essays explores the unique connections between Ireland and England. Amongst the subjects dealt with are: "The Irish Question"; varieties of Irishness; the importance of place; famous people, such as Randolph Churchill, ...
Charles Stewart Parnell, Mrs O'Shea, Thackeray, Trollope and Yeats; the making of literary reputations; and - in the last essay, "Marginal Men and Micks on the Make" - a discussion of the uses of exile, both to and from Ireland. Against the cut and dried stereotypes of Anglo-Irish relations, an overall ambiguity is asserted here, whether the topic under discussion is the flawed structure of the Act of Union, the way words are used in Irish political rhetoric, or the divided allegiances of Parnell, Yeats and Bowen. Other works by Roy Foster include "Charles Stewart Parnell: The Man and His Family", "Lord Randolph Churchill: A Political Life", "Modern Ireland 1600-1972", "The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland" and "The Sub-Prefect Should Have Held His Tongue: Selected Essays of Hubert Butler".