Which 50 People turned Ireland into the fecked-up country she is today? Bono? Haughey? Louis Walsh? de Valera? It's time to name and shame the great, the good and the gobshites... Conventional wisdom has it that Ireland, after a violent and tragic history, had began to get things right. But when the ill wind of recession cruelly snatched that self-satisfied achievement away, it all seemed like exceedingly back luck. In his 50 brilliantly acerbic portraits Waters reveals a consistent pattern of self-delusion, myopia, inferiority complex, bravado, defeatism, cynicism, sentimentalism and conceit. He traces Ireland's story from the paranoid insularism and cultural myopia that followed national Independence, though the post-Sixties obsession with a faux 'self-confidence', to the final, salutary meltdown of the Celtic Tiger, and strangely lacking either Celts or tigers. Once among the oldest civilization in Europe, Ireland has ended up as a second-rate version of the England it tried to discard. It threw out not merely the bathwater and the baby, but also the bathtub, the sponge and the rubber duck...

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