This chapter outlines the key themes and concepts that will be at stake in the book. The Irish Revolution (c. 1913–23) has been the subject of a vast and growing historiography. Ambushes and assassinations by IRA guerrillas and reprisals and counter-reprisals by Crown forces have dominated much of the discourse. More recently, the ‘everyday’ acts of violence that characterised so much revolutionary activity in Ireland have found a place in the literature. This book adds to that understanding of experiences at the grass-roots level. In this chapter, some key parameters for the study are outlined and an ‘anatomy of violence’ is developed, ranging from the impersonal threat to the physical attack on the person, to frame and contextualize the nature of the activity under observation. This chapter also explores some precedents for violence and civilian behaviour in revolutionary Ireland found during nineteenth and early twentieth century agrarian agitation.
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