A Great Feast of Light: Growing Up Irish in the Television Age

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Hachette Books, Apr 24, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 304 pages
Celebrated TV critic John Doyle has penned an Irish memoir that gives a portrait of a boy and his country transformed by television. Funny, insightful, and engaging, A Great Feast of Light begins in the small town of Nenagh, where young John's father purchased the family's first television in 1962, and ends in 1979 with the Pope's historic visit to the Emerald Isle, the appearance of "Dallas" on Irish TV, and twenty-two-year-old John's escape to North America. By day, John was schooled by the Christian brothers in the valor of Irish rebel heroes and the saintliness of Catholic martyrs. But in the evenings, television conveyed more subversive messages: American westerns, "I Love Lucy, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Laugh-In, The Muppet Show, Starsky and Hutch, and Monty Python suggested ways of life that were exciting and free. News coverage of American civil rights and women's rights protests, Irish street riots, bombings, and Bloody Sunday clashed with Catholic conservatism. While the "global village" was yanking Ireland out of its past, one intelligent and sardonic boy was taking notes. His story, at once a charming coming-of-age tale and a compelling social history, is a welcome addition to the literature of Ireland.

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A GREAT FEAST OF LIGHT: Growing Up Irish in the Television Age

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Toronto Globe and Mail television columnist Doyle debuts with a memoir featuring, among other things, an account of what he watched on the telly in the old country. As a lad in Tipperary, young John ... Read full review

A great feast of light: growing up Irish in the television age

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TorontoGlobe and Mail television critic Doyle makes the arrival of television in Ireland the framework for this engaging and very readable memoir about growing up in the smallest of small towns in the ... Read full review


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About the author (2009)

John Doyle, one of Canada's most popular newspaper columnists, was born in Nenagh, County Tipperary, in 1957. He attended University College, Dublin and escaped to Canada in 1980. He has been a critic for The Globe and Mail since 1997 and has written the Globe's daily television column since 2000. His writing has appeared in Report On Business magazine, Elle Canada, Books In Canada, The Irish Times, and the Toronto Star, among others. John Doyle lives in Toronto.

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