Big Jim Larkin: Hero or Wrecker

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Much has been written about 'Big Jim' Larkin but, remarkably, this is the first full-length biography. Through the research of leading Labour historian Emmet O'Connor, Larkin - Labour leader and agitator - is thoroughly evaluated. Based on newly uncovered and extensive police records, FBI files, and archives of the Communist International in Moscow, O'Connor goes beyond the public figure of heroism to explore the hidden side of a very private person who hated people knowing his business and kept his ambitions and personal demons behind a veil of silence. 'Big Jim' remains the central figure in the history, public history, and mythology of Irish Labour. A powerful orator and brilliant agitator, in popular consciousness Larkin is forever linked with the 1913 Lockout and the formation of the modern Irish Labour movement. Since 1909 he has been the hero of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union, the Workers' Union of Ireland, and SIPTU. For all workers, and all employers, his name is synonymous with militancy and solidarity.And yet this 'hero' succeeded in instigating a civil war in Dublin trade unionism, and in time came to be vilified as a 'wrecker' by some of his former comrades.In Big Jim Larkin Emmet O'Connor reveals a man who proves to be both hero and wrecker.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDublin
PublisherUniversity College Dublin
Number of pages360
ISBN (Print)9781906359935
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Nov 2015


  • Larkin
  • Labour


Dive into the research topics of 'Big Jim Larkin: Hero or Wrecker'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this