a muddled, even a botched, affair

John Banville takes refuge from the speculation over the Booker Prize and returns to his other job, of critic, to review Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion by Charles Townshend, in today’s Guardian – read the rest here.

The author has devoted his life to the study of Irish history and this huge work is the pinnacle of his labours. He maintains a studied coolness of approach, offers few judgments, and is fair to all sides. While he is unsparing in his descriptions of the muddle, indecision and plain deceit in the preparation and conduct of the rising, he does communicate something of the small-scale grandeur of it all.