In 1919 a group of men barely out of their teens, poorly armed, with no money and little training renewed the fight begun in 1916 to drive the British out of Ireland. Dan Breen was to become the best known. At first they were condemned on all sides. They became outlaws and My Fight describes graphically what life was like ‘on the run’, with ‘an army at one’s heels and a thousand pounds on one’s head’. A burning belief in their cause sustained them through many a dark and bitter day, and slowly support came from the country.
The treaty in December 1921 did not bring the full and complete separation from Britain that Dan wanted, though he tried desperately to avert the Civil War. When that threat loomed up he was in San Francisco. He had a premonition that he was going back to meet his death, so on the train from San Francisco to New York he jotted down the rough draft of his life, which became My Fight For Irish Freedom. The fact that it was written at white heat in such a short time, gives it a swiftness, almost a breathlessness of movement, rare in historical meoirs. It was first published in 1924 and revised and enlarged from tape recordings made by Dan for the first Anvil paperback in 1964.
Dan Breen, who represented Tipperary in Dáil Éireann, retired from politics in 1965. He died in December 1969.