Laurence Power is a retired business professional and lives in County Kildare
in Ireland and is currently researching and working on a book that will reverberate in a
few countries, hopefully in 2019. His cycling days are over but not his writing days…not yet.
What readers say...
BLACK '47 - This is a book that should be on our Leaving Certificate curriculum. The bravery and dignity of young Sean O'Brien and his family had no bounds. Sharing what little food that came their way with less fortunate neighbours, despite being starving themselves, shows the family traits that makes Ireland different from anywhere else in the world. This could have been a hard and harrowing read but the courage that Sean showed at the age of nineteen was a respectful reason to keep turning the pages.
THE VISION OF ANJIE BAUMANN - A very readable accessible novel depicting a key time in Dutch History – the German Occupation. The novel sympathetically and skillfully shows the split in the country between resistance and collaboration when dealing with the brutal Nazi regime through the microcosm of the Baumann Family and their neighbours. Excellent characterization draws the reader into the Baumann family and through his description and dialogue the author paints a clear picture of the lives of the people at that time. Based geographically in the south west of Holland it gives a personalized view of the town Oosterbeek near Arnhem and its entire social layers and its trials and tribulations through the Second World War. A great read and powerful in its sweeping historical vista and educational particularly in its final twist at the end of the novel.
BLACK '47 is special for two reasons. The first is that author, Laurence Power's knowledge of his subject is as good as it gets from first page to last. He did his research. The second is that he has deep knowledge of the historic events that led to the famine. Few writers convey the scale of what happened in Ireland in those four tragic years but, for me at least, Power's narrative is powerful. Within the first two chapters the reader knows that his knowledge of land and crops and of seasons and of systems of land tenure is matchless. He doesn't let up throughout which is why his book is a turner. With huge reliance on the potato crop a major famine was on the cards and had been for decades. Colonization was also a massive factor, in fact huge; the tragedy of the Irish peasant was that his colonizer was Great Britain, whose government ceded responsibility to just one man to deal with the tragedy of the ages. It was the blunder
that changed Ireland's history for good and all. Black '47 is a brilliant read. I loved it.
After a boyhood of tragedy and want, life begins to look brighter for Seán O’Brien as he enters manhood. As a talented musician, the doors of the rich are thrown open to him, and his initial success allows him to dare dream of saving his family from grinding poverty. In a convulsion of history, however, his dream is to be challenged as the potato crop in Ireland succumbs to disease and hundreds of thousands face a lingering death by starvation.
It is May 1940 in Holland. As the Baumann family realizes that Hitler’s war has suddenly become their war, sirens begin blaring as a squadron of airplanes flies over Oosterbeek. Antje, Gerrit, and Cornelis Baumann are too young to understand what is happening around them. All they know is that they feel powerless as they watch their father cry.