After I began my researches into Irish history I became more and more dissatisfied with the existing stereotyped model of the supposed centuries old conflict with the English. One day I went into a bookshop to purchase a greatly-hyped History of modern Ireland, and I found that the chapter headings had scarcely changed in a hundred years. A version of Irish history had been set in the nineteenth century, and accepted as true ever after. Next, I happened to purchase out of curiosity a copy of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. I was rather astounded to find that the version of German history Hitler preached was uncannily like the version of Irish history I had been taught in school. Both were derived from the racial theories of the early nineteenth century, of the special Geist or genius of each race, and the Darwinian Rassenkampf or wars of the races, resulting in the survival of the fittest or strongest. Thirdly, when preparing my doctoral thesis I quoted a world-famous authority on some point or another, only for my supervisor to ask me where I got that idea from. (He was an authority on the point.) I resolved to check every fact, never to rely on a single source, and to accept no man’s conclusions merely on his reputation. (O si sic omnes).