Few people have had as profound an impact on their country’s history in so short a time as Michael Collins had on twentieth-century Ireland. Dead at thirty-one, assassinated by a compatriot, he had already fought in the Easter Rising, been elected to four different parliaments, organized the IRA and smuggled in its arms, launched its guerrilla war, beat British intelligence at its own game, financed the revolution, negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty, run the first independent government of Ireland, and led the Irish army to victory as its first Commander-in-Chief. Collins gained international fame as the mystery man who could not be caught, the man who won the war and, paradoxically, the man who made peace with the British Empire and made it stick. That he also paid the ultimate price has ensured that he remains a hero and an icon both in his native country and abroad. Peter Hart’s compelling and comprehensive biography draws on many hitherto unseen sources to explore the life of Michael Collins and to ask what made him such an extraordinary and complex man. Set to become the definitive work, Hart’s is the first book fully to investigate Collins’s life before becoming a revolutionary and the first to take a critical look at his rise to power and its consequences.