The Treaty: The Gripping Story of the Negotiations that brought about Irish Independence and led to the Civil War


Gretchen Friemann

Pacy narrative history of the dramatic negotiations that led to the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty 100 years ago.

November 2021


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On the morning of 11 October 1921, the world’s media watched as Michael Collins, leader of the ‘Irish murder gang’, bounded through the door of 10 Downing Street. Moments later, he shook hands with the British Prime Minister.

So began the first day of the most important political negotiations in modern Anglo-Irish history. Nearly two months later, in the early hours of 6 December 1921, the talks culminated in the signing of what in Ireland is known simply as ‘the Treaty’ – a document that had been designed to end one violent conflict, but which soon gave rise to another.

A century on from its signing, award-winning journalist Gretchen Friemann has produced a gripping account of the tense and protracted negotiations between the Irish and British delegations, shining a fresh light on the complex politics and high-stakes bargaining that produced the agreement.

A stunningly vivid piece of narrative history that resonates across the intervening century to the age of Brexit, The Treaty is a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand modern Ireland and the enduring complexities of British–Irish relations.


1. Close Encounters
2. Improvising a Nation
3. London: 6 October–11 October 1921
4. War or Peace: 12 October–21 October 1921
5. Opposition and Division: 21 October–30 October 1921
6. Casting and Gathering: 31 October–9 November 1921
7. Power and Intent: 10 November–22 November 1921
8. Crossings: 22 November–30 November 1921
9. Last Days: 1 December–6 December 1921
10. Aftermath


Gretchen Friemann
is an award-winning journalist whose work has featured in The Irish Times, Irish Independent, Sunday Business Post, The Sunday Times, The Australian and the Australian Financial Review. Long fascinated with modern European history, she graduated with a First Class Masters degree in International History from Trinity College. She lives in Dublin and The Treaty is her first book.

ISBN: 9781785374203

Praise for The Treaty

‘rich detail…pacy and controlled narrative….Friemann weaves a complex narrative, deftly jumping back and forward in time to set the scene or to fill in the picture….with an admirably light touch, she charts the road to the political division that engulfed Ireland.’
Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid, The Guardian

“It provides a forensically detailed account of the tortuous eight-week negotiations between heavyweight Westminster statesmen and inexperienced, divided revolutionaries…Friemann certainly does not neglect the Treaty’s technical details, with sticking points such as trade, defence, sovereignty and Ulster all clearly explained. From her blow-by-blow reconstruction of this labyrinthine process, however, it is the personal vignettes that stand out most strongly.”
Sunday Business Post

“Friemann has produced an impressive yet readable account of this historic event, interweaving the complex issues of the political negotiations with a lively eye for the human touch.”
Mary Kenny, Irish Independent

“Friemann’s chronicle is fast-paced, readable and, most importantly, instructive. Most importantly, it confirms what the treaty’s critics knew before the ink on the signatures had dried: British determination to avoid a clean break with its neighbouring colony was bound to engender the spilling of more Irish blood.”
Roy Greenslade, Andersontown News

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