In the early 1950s Sir Winston Churchill met the Irish politician Sean Lemass, who was later to become Taoiseach. The great statesman remarked upon the economic circumstances of Britain at the time. 'The situation in Great Britain,' quoth Churchill in his most grandiloquent tones, 'is serious but not hopeless.' Lemass responded instantly, 'Sure,' he said, 'it's exactly the opposite in Ireland.' Thus the title for Jack McLean's autobiography. It is a book about being born into the new world after the Second World War. McLean's varied experiences during a time which shifted from the residue of pre-war attitudes to a change in global culture are chronicled, as are his relationships with a large number of the students who are now household names. McLean is suitably scathing about most of them. Equally so is his account of the next step in his career - the turbulent area of education. He entered this a skilled politico and left a skilled sceptic. His final retirement from both education and politics was welcomed by all, not least himself. In this book we learn about what there was in his life and background to make him into one of the most polemical journalists to emerge in the post-war years 'No great task considering what there is really' said McLean when confronted with that observation. 'I only write what I've done, or didn't do at that.' Friend or foe notwithstanding, this book is about the times in which McLean has so far lived, along with lots of you out there. He says it's fairly true as well. Or at least honest.
Neil Wilson Publishing