Ashfield Press Previews of Titles

Mixed Messages

Ann-Marie McMahon

We live in a world of rapid change, tremendous pressures and great confusion. A world that makes constant demands about who we should be. We are labelled by the way we look and where we come from. We hear, on a daily basis, such expressions as: "you look so well that I didn’t recognise you", "Who does she think she is" and "That pair seem to have forgotten where they came from" to name but a few.

Psychologist Ann-Marie McMahon helps us read between the lines of those offending words and labels that are hurled at us on a daily basis. By helping us get to the heart of what they really mean she helps us to unveil the treats and alleviate our blurred vision.

144pp.  ISBN 1-901658-00-7  £7.99 OBK  1997

Be Your Own Friend

Ann-Marie McMahon

Sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way we expect and we wonder why. We blame others, circumstances of fate . . . and we suffer on.

We make excuses, we opt out, we even turn a blind eye to the things that create our own discontentment. Very often the answers to our happiness lie within ourselves.

So why not Be Your Own Friend and start asking yourself what is really happening in your life. You might be surprised at what you discover, you may even enjoy the fruits of your efforts.

We all love surprises. To discover new insights about yourself, simply turn the pages and start questioning and guiding your own life. You can become you own best friend – and ultimately a friend to everyone else.

Ann-Marie McMahon is a psychologist in St John of Gods Hospital, Dublin. She is director of Aftercare at St John of Gods where she specialises in counselling and psychotherapy. She conducts courses in personal development and is a regular contributor to newspapers, radio and television.

120pp.  ISBN: 1-901658-15-5 £6.99 pbk  1998

Wasting By Degrees

Conor Bowman

This is the story of one student and his struggle to avoid working for a living! Dixton Larkin is an Irish law student who flukes an offer of a place in Cambridge for a year to study for a masters degree. His sponsor, Aunt Sheila, is a religious fanatic who believes that the cure for all ills is a cold shower and a dose of the rosary. Dixton teams up with a Geology student Jonathan Pepper and together they soldier on through the year struggling to achieve the dual goals of gaining their degrees and losing their virginities.

Conor Bowman studied in Cambridge for a year. He writes songs and worked as a comedy scriptwriter for a bi-lingual TV programme for two years. A former winner of the Irish Times Debate (1987), he is a practising barrister.

232pp. ISBN 1-901658-13-9 £9.99 pbk ISBN 1-901658-14-7 £16.99 hbk 1998

The Things That Were

Aubrey Dillon-Malone

The Things That Were, an exciting first novel from Dublin writer Aubrey Dillon-Malone, tells the story of a family from Galway who are torn between extremes in their feelings for each other. The authoritarian father, a gentleman farmer who is so disenchanted with the present world that he has virtually given up on it, is paralysed from the waist down after a car accident which kills his wife. Their daughter Greta subsequently goes away to become a nun and their son, the narrator of the book, leaves school to look after his father.

As the years go on the father and son build up a love-hate relationship with one another, compounded by their own inner frustrations about the hand life has dealt them. The son's love affair with the bohemian Maria breaks down, and he travels to London to become an East end barman, where he has direct access to the seamier side of life and becomes embroiled in a drink and drugs culture which simultaneously fascinates and repulses him. He is loth to leave it all until he is beaten up by a customer one night, after which he decides to return home.

Upon returning home he finds that his father has mellowed and the pair of them develop a bond they had never had before. He cannot shake off the travelling bug however and soon returns to London to continue his dissolute and reckless lifestyle. He then receives the shocking news that his father has been stricken down with cancer, and his past comes flooding back as he journeys to the lonely farm. His mind is in a tailspin and a confrontation with his sister Greta is inevitable. But exactly what form it will take, or what long-term repercussions it will have, not even he can contemplate…

Aubrey Dillon-Malone is a Dublin based writer whose previous works include The Sayings of Brendan Behan (Duckworth). He is the co-writer with Brian Behan of a new book The Brothers Behan (Ashfield Press, October 1998). This is his first novel.

ISBN 1-901658-14-7 £7.99 pbk Sept 1998

An Eye on the Whiplash and Other Stories

Henry Murphy

The hilarious adventures of young Dermot McNamara BL, fledging barrister, are described in this collection of short stories. From the disastrous first Brief – defending the leggy and lovely Ms Wilkinson, daughter of the influential Insurance Claims Manager – to his final heady triumph over a case of bananas in Donegal’s Circuit Court – young Dermot treads his way, wigged and gowned, through Ireland’s hall of justice – usually bemused, always dignified.

These funny accounts of a young barrister just starting up in practice give a human face to what some may consider a very inhuman profession.

Henry Murphy is a practising Barrister.

138 pp ISBN: 1-901658-10-4 £9.99 pbk  isbn 1-901658-11-2 £16.95 hbk 1997

Personal Sketches and Recollections of his Own Time

Sir Jonah Barrington

The scenes and incident in Ireland during the 1700s have been used by some novelists for their best works; but the facts given by Barrington surpass them all in terms of wildness and romance. The reader is brought face to face with the hunting squire, the fire-eating duellist, the beautiful lady, the intriguing politician, the witty peasant, Jack Giffard the Orangeman, unprincipled men and women who made up Irish Society at the beginning of the 18th century.

This is a re-print of Personal Sketches which was first printed in 1827.

Sir Jonah Barrington was born in 1760. He studied Law at Trinity College, Dublin. He became a Judge in admiralty in 1798 and was knighted in 1807. He died at Versailles on 8 April 1834.

370pp  ISBN: 1-901658-04-X £19.95 pbk  ISBN 1-901658-12-0 £29.95 hbk 1997

Famous Irish Trials

M. McDonnell Bodkin Introduction by Dr EG Hall

The most theatrical manifestation of the law’s drama is the trial, and mankind has a remarkable interest in sensational legal cases. Famous Irish Trials invites us to indulge ourselves in some of the most intriguing and gruesome trials of the turn of this century.

This book is not devoted exclusively to murders. From the authors keen interest in politics he details, amongst others, the trial of the enigmatic tension which subsequent aftermath has passed into folklore. Famous Irish Trials follows in a classical tradition. As McDonnell Bodkin himself says: "There is nothing the public so love to read as good, savage, sensational murder".

This is a re-print of Famous Irish Trials, first published in 1918.

M. McDonnell Bodkin was born in 1850. He studied law at University College Dublin and was called to the bar in 1877. In 1907 he was appointed County Court Judge for Clare.

142 pp. ISBN 1-901658-03-1 £12.95 pbk ISBN 1-901658-08-2 £19.95 hbk 1997

Michael Collins and the Brotherhood

Vincent MacDowell

This is the fascinating story of a secret revolutionary society, The Irish Republican Brotherhood, which succeeded after 65 years in wrestling most of Ireland from the British Empire. This is also the story of the main leader in the revolution – Michael Collins. The author unfolds startling new revelations on the life and death of Michael Collins. How and why ministers of his own Free State were induced to collaborate with British Intelligence and facilitated his murder. And the question of why Michael Collins, so suddenly, relented in signing the Treaty. Why did Emmet Dalton resign and leave the country? And why was there no inquest, no military inquiry into the death of the Commander-in-Chief?

Vincent MacDowell puts the event of 1922 clearly before us and casts new light on the goings-on prior to the signing of the Treaty, against all instructions of the Brotherhood. Common knowledge numbers Moya Llewellyn Davies and Lady Lavery as Collins’ lovers; less well-known, is that he had two children by Moya Llewellyn Davies. This book tell us how Collins’ son Richard was to be the influence that made Collins make the biggest decision of his life and one that would affect Irish history forever.

Vincent MacDowell comes from three generations of a strongly republican family. At the age of 16 years, he was interned for three years in Crumlin Road Prison, Belfast. He is an active member of the Green Party.

192 pp. ISBN 1-901658-05-8 £9.99 pbk ISBN 1-901658-06-6 £17.50 hbk 1997

In the Land Commission: a memoir (1933–1978)

Patrick J. Sammon

This is a vibrant and fascinating account of the major events and happenings in the Irish Land Commission between the year 1933-1978. It was in the period of 1950-1976 when the older bosses who had served during the closing stages of the British regime had retired and were replaced by a younger generation of senior officers, recruited in the early 1930s. This book reveals the unvarnished truth of what went on, year after year, within the portals of Upper Merrion Street. The revelations in this book will go far towards debunking the widely accepted impression held by many of the public that civil servants are a pampered breed who do not have to worry about their jobs before retiring on a handsome pension, which is regularly increased in line with pay-deals secured by their former colleagues. In this book there are many surprising developments at the highest level and an absence of ethical standards which one would not expect to find in a Department of State.

Patrick J Sammon commenced his civil service career in 1933 as a clerical officer in the Land Commission. He retired from his post as principle Officer in May 1978 at which stage the Land Commission had been merged with the Department of Agriculture.

308pp. ISBN 1-901658-01-5 £19.95 pbk ISBN 1-901658-02-3 £29.95 hbk 1997

Spiritual Journeys – Teachings from another Dimension

Michael Connolly

On a night in March 1979, the author Michael Connolly had a strange experience, and although he did not realise it at the time, this experience was to have such a profound influence on him that it was to change the course of his whole life.

This is a true story of one man’s journey of self-discovery. A story of his fascinating dialogue with spirits on a higher plane. A journey guided by his spiritual master, together with the power of meditation and the phenomenon of astral projection to where the author discovers the existence of greater life forces. He describes the locations he "visits" and his unique interactions with the inhabitants who help him to find harmony and understanding in this confused world.

Michael Connolly shares with us his experiences over the past twenty years, thus enabling the reader to open the doors not only to the inner world but to discover a power and great joy in this world. He reveals to us the existence of life after death and the true nature of God as he embarks with us on a journey into worlds unseen, worlds still awaiting us.

Michael Connolly began his career in writing in 1979, and since then has been script writing for radio, television and theatre. In recent years he has devoted much of his time to researching and experimenting with the hidden powers that lie dormant in the depths of the human psyche.

138 pp. ISBN 1-901658-07-4 £9.99 pbk 1997

The Brothers Behan

Brian Behan and Aubrey Dillon-Malone

Since the early and untimely death of Brendan Behan, a lot of stories have grown up about him, maybe too many. Some of these are true, some have been dramatically juiced up, and some are mythical. They have all been tailored to suit the man that the storytellers think Brendan Behan was.

Throw a stone in Dublin and the chances are that it will hit someone who has a Behan tale to tell - usually at closing time in some inner-city pub.

This book, written with the active participation of one of the people who knew the real Brendan Behan best – his brother Brian – aims to cut through the mythology and get at the real man himself. Brian has an engaging and conversational style and the book analyses Brendan Behan through his work and his activities, and in particular through his relationship with his family. It will be the first truly accurate, authentic portrayal of this famous Irish writer, who died well before his time and left the literary world the poorer for his passing.

Brian Behan is the brother of Brendan Behan and also an acclaimed playwright in his own right. Based in Brighton, he has written several plays which have been staged internationally, including The Begrudgers, Mother of All the Behans and Boots for the Footless. Aubrey Dillon-Malone is a seasoned, Dublin-based writer whose works include The Sayings of Brendan Behan.

224 pp.  ISBN: 1-901658-16-3 £9.99 pbk October 1998

Music for Middlebrows

Des Keogh

For thirty years Des Keogh has been entertaining audiences all over Ireland with his radio programme Music for Middlebrows. In 1968 he went to the then Head of Light Music in RTE radio with an idea and a title. He was given an initial series of thirteen programmes and has been on the air ever since. The idea was to present all the great melodies from classical music in an informal, entertaining way. There has never been anything stuffy or academic about it. He has talked about the music in a way that was understandable to everybody. He has told stories about the composers and communicated to the listeners his own great joy in the classics.

Now Des has put all this down on paper in a book which embodies the spirit of this highly successful programme. This will be an interesting and stimulating book for all lovers of melodious music. Des writes as he talks, in an interesting and accessible way. The book focuses on the Top 40 middlebrow composers and includes a pen-portrait of each which represents his personal impressions of them. Des then foes on to discuss the most popular compositions of these composers, giving interesting tit-bits and entertaining anecdotes along the way. Part Two of the book focuses on composers and works outside this select Top 40, accommodating the "One-work Wonders", and such great favourites as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Dukas), The Violin Concerto (Max Bruch), The Guitar Concerto (Rodrigas), Romance from The Godfly (Shostakovitch) and a host of others.

Music for Middlebrows will be a great read in itself, but will also form an excellent companion to the radio programme.

Blackhall Publishing are proud to contribute to the thirtieth anniversary celebrations of one of RTE’s longest running and most popular programmes by publishing Music for Middlebrows.

ISBN: 1-901658-17-1 £FN pbk   I1-901658-18-X £NF hbk October 1998

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