Dorothy Macardle - a teacher, playwright, journalist and novelist - is best known as the author of The Irish Republic (1937), the first history of the revolutionary period from an anti-Treaty perspective. The manner in which the book endorsed de Valera's decisions during the period allowed many of her contemporaries to view her as merely his adjunct or mouthpiece. Yet Macardle, as Leeann Lane reveals in this short biography, was beholden to no male politician. While in many ways she had a supportive relationship with de Valera on a political level, the issues that caused fault lines to form between them are also explored. The often fractious nature of their relationship allows an understanding of the position of women within a patriarchal nationalist culture and the manner in which they had to negotiate connections to the male political establishment. Central to this book is the commitment of Macardle to female activist politics and social issues in the Free State, commitments that forced her to carefully navigate her views on de Valera and the Fianna Fail Party.
It is revealed that Macardle's opposition to the position of women in the 1937 Constitution was not overt but contained within her range of gothic novels published in the 1940s. An analysis of these novels allows an understanding that women did continue to object to their role in the 1937 Constitution, but often in subversive ways. This succinct biography places Macardle in the context of her republicanism after 1916 and later within the politics and religious ethos of the post-colonial state - revealing a determined, intelligent and independently minded woman.