Episode 13 Michael Collins’ Intelligence War

Episode 13-Michael Collins’ Intelligence War

Today we discuss Michael Collins and his intelligence war including the formation of the Squad, his spies such as Ned Broy, David Neligan, and James MacNamara, and Bloody Sunday


Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3


The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922 by Ronan Fanning, 2013, Faber & Faber

Richard Mulcahy: From the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace, 1913-1924 by Padraig O Caoimh, 2018, Irish Academic Press

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Michael Collins and the Anglo-Irish War: Britain’s Counterinsurgency Failure by J. B. E. Hittle, 2011, Potomac Books

Michael Collins and the Making of the Irish State by Gabriel Doherty, 1998, Mercier Press







Episode 11-Interview with Dr. Mary McAuliffe


We are very excited to interview Dr. Mary McAuliffe about her new biography on Margaret Skinnider and the experience of Irish women during the Irish War for Independence and the Irish Civil War.

Buy Dr. McAuliffe’s biography on Margaret Skinnider here: http://www.ucdpress.ie/display.asp?isbn=9781910820537&

Follow Dr. McAuliffe of Twitter: https://twitter.com/marymcauliffe4

If you enjoyed this episode, please donate to our Ko-Fi

Transcript coming

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3

Episode 2-Women of Easter Rising


This episode will talk about five women who contributed to Easter Rising: Constance Markievicz, Kathleen Clarke, Winifred Carney, Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington, and Molly Osgood.

Transcript-Episode Two (PDF)

Theme Sound: Symphony no. 5 in Cm, Op. 67 – III. Allegro

Image designed by @GraphicsHub3


The Republic: the Fight for Irish Independence by Charles Townshend, 2014, Penguin Group

Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922 by Ronan Fanning, 2013, Faber & Faber

Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion by Charles Townshend, 2015, Penguin Group

Richard Mulcahy: From the Politics of War to the Politics of Peace, 1913-1924 by Padraig O Caoimh, 2018, Irish Academic Press

A Nation and Not a Rabble: the Irish Revolution 1913-1923 by Diarmaid Ferriter, 2015, Profile Books

Green Against Green: the Irish Civil War by Michael Hopkinson, 2004, Gill Books

Michael Collins and the Anglo-Irish War: Britain’s Counterinsurgency Failure by J. B. E. Hitte, 2011, Potomac Books

Overview of Pamela Toler’s Lecture on Women Warriors

A few weeks ago, I went to the Pritzker Military Museum and Library to attend Pamela Toler’s lecture on her new book Women Warriors: An Unexpected History. Toler is a well-known historian who studies the often over looked aspects of history such as women contributions and noncombatants contributions during war. Her book focuses on women warriors from all over the world, breaking down when we are most likely to see women engaging in combat and dismantling common assumptions when it comes to women warriors.

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Book Review-The Woman Who Would be King

The Woman Who Would be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt by Kara Cooney, 2014, Crown Publishing




This is a well-written, engaging study of a fascinating woman from Ancient Egypt. It has an easy to read study and, while it sometimes strays a little too far into the theoretical, it never reads like an academic tome. It is also an accessible book for anyone who doesn’t know much about Ancient Egypt, going into great detail how religious, politics, and a royal family’s internal life functioned. My only real critique of the book is that it goes too far in using modern feminism to explain Hatshepsut’s rise and Egypt’s reaction to having a woman Pharaoh.


The book starts by highlight that Hatshepsut’s first encounter with power was being appointed the God’s Wife of Amen. In this role, Hatshepsut was given property and a small staff and was responsible for tending to the needs of the god, Amen. She was also Thutmose I’s first born and Cooney hypothesizes that Hatshepsut learned how to govern by watching her father. Cooney spends a good portion of the first half of the book explaining the internal functions of a royal family. She freely admits that a lot of this is speculation based on archaeological findings and that we’ll never truly know what Hatshepsut’s relationship with her father or his many wives was like. Still, Cooney does an admirable job trying to untangle what would happen to a child and mother after they were born, the roles of the wet nurse and familial staff, and the different pressures and expectations for male children and female children.


Hatshepsut marries her step-brother, Thutmose II, and has a female child, but is unable to produce a male heir. However, when Thutmose II dies, it is Hatshepsut who takes control of his son’s fate, not the boy’s mother. Cooney does a lot of speculation as to why this was the case arguing that maybe Hatshepsut’s own mother was still alive at the time and helped her daughter stage a power grab, making Hatshepsut Thutmose III’s regent, instead of the boy’s mother. There is also some speculation that Thutmose III’s mother’s bloodline couldn’t compete with Hatshepsut’s. Once Hatshepsut took over, Cooney believes that she may have continued to have support from her mother in establishing control, and once this control was established, Thutmose could not destabilize it once he was old enough to understand what was going on.


Cooney does a great job trying to understand what Hatshepsut and Thutmose III’s relationship must have been like. At what point was Thutmose III old enough to realize that Hatshepsut had proclaimed herself pharaoh and all that entailed? Why did Hatshepsut never try to kill him and take the throne completely for herself? Cooney uses the fact that Thutmose did not destroy any reference to Hatshepsut until the end of his reign to hypothesize that they had, at least, a semi-working relationship. Cooney cannot say for sure if Thutmose were married Hatshepsut’s daughter, but it would have been odd if he hadn’t. Although her child falls into oblivion after Hatshepsut’s death, suggesting that Hatshepsut may have tried to pass the pharaoship down to her daughter as well and either she was too old and weak to do (she was sickly towards the end of her reign) or the Egyptian officials wouldn’t allow it. Interestingly, Hatshepsut was able to pass down her position as God Wife of Amen to her daughter, which may have suggested that, even though she couldn’t give the throne to her daughter, she could still give her an important position that would keep her safe one Hatshepsut died. The nature of Amun’s God Wife also changed towards the end of Thutmose’s reign. Mothers were appointed to that position instead, Cooney speculating because Thutmose III learned from Hatshepsut and realized that other women could use it as a spring board to the throne.


Cooney spends a lot of time trying to measure how Egyptians felt about this strange new pharaoh. Hatshepsut wasn’t the first woman to claim the title Pharaoh, and it wasn’t unusual for mothers to serve as regents for their sons. However, a regent had never claimed the title Pharaoh, nor had they ever worn the crown and ceremony beard of pharaoh. Even in her depictions, Hatshepsut made sure everyone knew she was pharaoh. She was placed before Thutmose and was bigger than he was. At first, her figure was a combination of masculine and feminine features but steadily grew more masculine (seemingly coinciding with Thutmose reaching his teenage years). As she grew more masculine, she began to share the space with Thutmose, making them the same size, however, by making her form more masculine, she also made it hard to differentiate between her figure and Thutmose III’s. Cooney tries to understand the change as a reflection of Egyptian society’s feelings about having a female pharaoh when the male pharaoh was old enough to make his own decisions, but it also seems like Hatshepsut was still finding ways to remind Thutmose of his place.


Cooney writes that Egyptian society seemingly embraced Hatshepsut’s power grab without much comment. She points out that may be because the Egyptians only recorded anything that would glorify the pharaoh and never stained their records with anything that was problematic. But I think there is also a danger in trying to understand Hatshepsut’s rise and Egyptian society’s feelings through a binary, feminist point of view. While reading Cooney’s analysis of familial life in Egypt, it is clear that the women of the household held power that we Westerners wouldn’t have expected or acknowledged in ancient civilizations-let along our own civilizations. Additionally, women had acted as regents before and Hatshepsut wasn’t the first woman to hold power nor would she be the last. Finally, many of the female deities were protective spirits, as vicious and deadly as they could be kind and loving. There seems to be this understanding of feminine power that is more advanced than Cooney’s theory of feminism would have us believe. Additionally, to expect Egyptians to understand gender along the same binary we understand it seems misguided at best.


Finally, because Cooney wants to establish a feminist theory regarding Hatshepsut’s rise, I think she doesn’t pay enough attention to Hatshepsut’s genius regarding administrative management. One of Hatshepsut’s most faithful administrators with Senenmut. Senenmut rose from humble beginnings to become one of Hatshepsut’s most powerful and trusted officials. He started as her daughter’s tutor, was given control of Hatshepsut’s finances, and became her chief architecture, overseeing the construction of the Deir el Bahri and built his tomb next to Hatshepsut’s. Many people have written that Senenmut was either the real brains behind Hatshepsut (which is ridiculous theory embedded in the sexist belief that a woman could never be as successful a pharaoh as Hatshepsut was) or her lover (which also seems vaguely sexist to me). Whether Senenmut was Hatshepsut’s lover or not (and what that means in terms of political power i.e. was he sleeping with her to keep power or was she sleeping with him to keep him bound to her) he wasn’t the only commoner to be promoted to an important official position. Hatshepsut made it a practice of appointing men from lower administrative families, seemingly buying their loyalty by evaluating their rank and power. This, more so than any feminine powerhouse Hatshepsut may have created with her mother (if she lived long enough to see Hatshepsut become pharaoh) and her own daughter, seems to be the reason Hatshepsut was able to remain in power as long as she did and was able to establish herself as pharaoh. By buying the loyalty of the administrative apparatus that help Egypt together, no one in their right mind would try to overthrow her. I wish Cooney had explored this aspect of her reign in more depth because it is an interesting style of management we have seen in other great historical figures.


After Hatshepsut died, Thutmose III became the sole pharaoh of Egypt. Most of her advisors and officials were disgraced from office, many of the statues Senenmut built for himself were destroyed and he wasn’t allowed to have his body buried next to Hatshepsut’s. His mummy has never been found. Despite getting rid of Hatshepsut’s officials, Thutmose III did not attack her historical record until the end of his reign. Cooney argues that this was because Thutmose III wanted his son to sit on the throne and feared that a woman would try to take the throne once more (we have to wonder if Hatshepsut’s daughter was still around, or maybe even Hatshepsut’s granddaughter-if she had one). However, I wonder if the reason Thutmose III didn’t try to erase Hatshepsut’s name from history sooner was because he couldn’t politically. Maybe Hatshepsut had done such a great job, not only ruling Egypt, but engraving her very presence into the psyche of Egyptian society, that to attack her legacy so soon after her death would have been seen as unforgivable. It was only at the end of his reign, when Thutmose III had enough of his own achievements to push Hatshepsut out of everyone’s mind, that he felt secure enough in his power to attack his co-ruler.


Overall, Cooney’s book is a fascinating read that is a great introduction to Hatshepsut’s reign. While she provides social and familial context rarely encountered in other books about the ancient world, I think she fell a little sort explaining the political machinations that was behind Hatshepsut’s ability to, not only rise to power, but keep it.


Hatshepsut was one of the most successful pharaohs in Ancient Egypt, a woman who took the name pharaoh after serving as Thutmose III’s regency for seven years. She oversaw the expansion of Ancient Egypt’s trade, a great reign of peace, and oversaw a series of large building projects such as one of the architectural wonders of Ancient Egypt, the Temple of Deir el-Bahri. Her reign was revolutionary in every sense, requiring Hatshepsut to use all her wits and skills to justify. Continue reading

Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells is a giant, not only within the civil rights movement, but in American history. She was an African-American investigative journalist, educator, and an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement. A founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a co-owner of the newspaper Memphis Free Speech and Headlight. Starting her career by investigating and documenting lynching across the United States, she quickly became a formidable figure arguing for civil and women’s rights. She died in 1931 at the age of 68, Ida remains a giant in American history.

Ida B. Wells

Born a slavery in Holly Springs, Mississippi, one of eight children born to James and Lizzie Wells. James was the son of a white man and an African-American women and became a carpenter’s apprentice. Her mother, however, was sold from her family and struggled to find her family again after the Civil War. Ida was the oldest child and became the sole bread winner when both of her parents died during a fever epidemic. Ida attended the black liberal arts college Rust College in Holly Spring, allowing her to develop the skills needed to become a teacher.


After her parents died, her grandparents wanted to separate the Wells siblings, but Ida refused. When she was away teaching, her other family members would help care for the younger children. They stayed in Holly Springs until two Wells sister died, convincing Ida to move to Memphis, TN and resettle with her aunt. While in Memphis, Ida attended summer classes at Fisk University and Lemoyne-Owens College and surprised many people with her strong feminist and civil rights views.


While riding a train in 1884, Ida was ordered to move form the first-class ladies car and move to the smoking cars. Ida refused and she was dragged out of the car. She wrote a newspaper article about the experience and sued the railroad and won $500 awards. However, the Tennessee Supreme Court shot down the verdict and made Ida pay court fees.


After her experience on the train, Ida continued to teach, but also started her career as a journalist. She became an editor for the Evening Star, wrote articles about The Living way weekly newspaper, and became an editor and co-editor of the Free Speech and Headlight. In 1891, Ida was fired from her teaching position, and recommitted herself to the newspapers.


In 1889, Ida’s friend Thomas Moss was entangled in a fight between a group of white men attacking a young African American by. Moss owned a grocery shop and two of his employees rushed to protect the boy. Eventually, a sheriff came down and arrested Moss and his employees. In 1892, men in black masks took Moss, McDowell, and Stewart out of their cells and to a rail yard in Ohio and executed them.


Ida was devastated by the loss of her friends and began to investigate other lynchings and published an editorial about her findings. Her newspaper office was burnt to the ground and she left Memphis and moved to Chicago.


On 1892, Ida published her lynching investigation in a pamphlet called Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Phases, claiming that Southerners cried rape to justify lynching African-Americans that they felt threatened by, especially economically. She recommended African-Americans arm themselves to defend against lynching. She followed this up with the pamphlet The Red Record covering lynching since the Civil War and the struggles of African-Americans.


Ida had hope that white Americans would turn against lynching, but she knew that African-Americans needed to arm themselves to be truly safe and she went to Britain to bring economic pressure on white America. She went to England to speak about her research and agreed to write for the only newspaper that decried lynching, the Daily Inter-Ocean. This made Ida the first paid woman correspondent for a mainstream white newspaper.


In 1895, Ida married Ferdinand L. Barnett, another journalist and civil rights activist. Barnett founded the Chicago Conservator, which Ida wrote for and even became an editor for.


While Ida remained dedicated to her work, she had gained a notorious reputation and many traditional activists saw her as a threat and too radical. This seems to have prevented her from being included in the list of founders of the NAACP.


While Ida was heavily involved with the civil rights movement, she was also involved with the Suffrage movement. This started with her founding of two Chicago Women’s Clubs in response to a new state law that gave women the right to vote in certain elections. She also organized the National Associations of Colored Women’s Clubs and the National Afro-American Council. While she believed all women should have the right to vote, she also saw the suffrage movement as a chance for African-American women to become involved in their own communities. This led to a public fight with Frances Willard, the president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, a strong advocacy group for women’s suffrage. Ida claimed that Frances did not condemn the lynching occurring in the South and even blamed African-Americans for the defeat of the temperance legislation. This may have also contributed to her exclusion from the National Associations of Colored Women’s Club in 1899


Despite these setbacks, Ida continued to fight for equality and human rights until her death, in 1931 at the age of 68.

Image Sources: public domain, wikicommons

Sources: Ida: A Sword Among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign Against Lynching by Paula Giddings. Published by Harper Collins in 2009

When Ida B. Wells Took on Lynching, Threats Forced Her to Leave Memphis

Ida B Wells

9 things you must know about Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida B Wells Wikipedia

Ida B Wells National Women’s History Museum

Ida B Wells Biography