Hero and Rebel

Eithne Massey
Michael Collins

Hero and leader. Loyal friend and formidable enemy. A man with a mission and a legend in his lifetime. This is the story of Michael Collins.

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192 pages
196x130 mm

Also available as an Electronic Book (ePub)


I want to be part of it, thought Michael. I want to be part of the song, part of the story.

Listening to tales of old Ireland on a West Cork farm and fighting his corner in the school playground, a little fella with a fierce sense of injustice and an equally fierce temper vows to fight for Irish independence.

‘I’d rather have a living brother than a brother who goes down in the history books as a hero, a dead hero!’ says Hannie Collins. But headstrong as ever, young Michael leaves his job in London and returns to Ireland to fight in the 1916 Rising. Later, he creates a spy ring of ordinary people, in a Dublin where nothing is quite what it seems.

This is the story of Michael Collins – brave hero and determined leader, loyal friend and dangerous enemy. He loved life. In the summer of1922 he was full of plans for his own future and for that of his country. But history had other plans for Michael.

Eithne Massey has written many books for both adults and children, mainly based on the legends of Ireland. Her adaptation of the award-winning movie The Secret of Kells is set in the time of the early Viking raids; The Silver Stag of Bunratty and Where the Stones Sing are set in Norman Ireland; and Blood Brother, Swan Sister at the time of the Battle of Clontarf. All blend together historical detail with myths, legends and folklore, resulting in stories which will appeal to ‘young readers who enjoy an adventure with well-rounded characters and a touch of magic and history’ (www.childrensbooksireland.ie).

rewarding … the narrative and the dialogue especially gives us unfettered access to the mind of one of our greatest heroes


Irish Examiner

action-packed reading … Massey treads a careful line between opposing political views. While not overcomplicating the narrative, she succeeds in presenting a personal portrait of a charismatic leader, without glorifying his military triumphs or making a martyr of him in death


Evening Echo

Written with the fluid, flowing style of a strong storyteller and well-grounded in historical fact, this is the story of Michael Collins. Beyond the concepts we carry of him as a brave, loyal and determined leader, friend and freedom-fighter, he is presented as a real person. There is a sense of his personality; the way he thinks and feels; who he really was underneath the hero status he has gained over the years since his life and death. The times which he lived through are presented with unerring accuracy and detail, giving a texture and reality to the story and grabs the reader, flinging them into history … Expertly crafted, thoroughly fascinating and incisively genuine

Fallen Star Stories

From a boisterous Cork childhood to radicalisation, rebellion, becoming part of a new establishment and the assassination that rocked the country, Michael Collins lived a fascinating and challenging life. It’s tricky to provide interiority to fictionalised versions of real people, but Massey skillfully weaves known details about Collins’s personal life into the sweeping historical narrative, helping to humanise and contextualise his strong beliefs and dynamic relationships. A deft, entertaining and accessible retelling of the life of one of Ireland’s most dominant figures.

Children's Books Ireland

From schooldays to his assassination, the life of one of Cork’s most famous figures in the struggle for independence is chronicled in Eithne Massey’s new children’s biography… Painting a personal picture of Collins’ schooldays in West Cork and the influences that led him to get involved in the Easter Rising and War of Independence, Massey leads young readers through the complex events surrounding truce and treaty, culminating in the Civil War and Collins’ death

The Holly Bough
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Teaching Resources: free to view and download

  • pdf-logoDownload Teaching Guides: Teaching guide to the book by Nicola Heaney

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  • The Dreaming Tree
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