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 one of the best known. At first they were condemned on all sides. They became outlaws and My Fight describes graphically what life like was on the ‘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 1921 did not bring the full and complete separation form 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 what was to become 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 memoirs. It was first published in 1924 and revised and enlarged from tape recordings made by Dan for the first Anvil paperback in 1964.