Just now, with politicians hereabouts slumbering softly awaiting the bugle call for action some time in September,
I turned from the boredom of inaction to a fascinating new book giving a new and surprising slant to that controversial character Eamon De Valera and his family's place in history.
Here's a very personal memoir by Dev's youngest son, Terry De Valera, who eschewed any interest in politics to qualify as a solicitor, a lover of music and later to become a popular taxing master of the Irish Supreme Court in 1969.
The blurb galvanised me to read on:
"My mother told me when I was but a few weeks old she said to my father 'I think there is going to be a wave in Terry's hair' and when he showed no interest, she rebuked him. She again tried to attract his attention and as she did he replied 'How can I mind about the wave in Terry's hair when they are fighting in the Four Courts?"
Born in June 1922, Terry de Valera presents a revealing picture of family life against the changing landscape of the emerging Irish Republic.
His loving picture of his dad, who vainly tried to interest him in maths during their long walks together is in sharp contrast to the popular conception of Dev as he was known to his enemies after the civil war.
"Over the years a lot has been written or said claiming that my father had little or no sense of humour... There is one short answer. Those who so accuse him display an ignorance of his true nature, or else they have been duped by unreasoning hate or prejudice. Father had an excellent sense of humour, certainly much better than the average."
Throughout the years there had been much good-humoured banter between Dev and his wife, she as a proud Dubliner and he with his strong loyalty to Munster and Co Limerick in particular.
When Lloyd George joked that dealing with De Valera was like trying to pick up a piece of mercury with a fork, Terry used to hear his father repeating his rejoinder with a chuckle "why doesn't he try a spoon?"
"Mother, Mairin, Eamon, Ruari, Don Cotter, myself and others actually saved up jokes to tell father simply for the joy of seeing him laugh so heartily."
As to his father's humanity, "he was very compassionate and highly sensitive, greatly concerned with the welfare of others especially when there was sickness in the family to the point of showing real anxiety... he was very unselfish, caring little for material things.
"His main indulgence was his love of books. Despite his eyesight he also continued to love and collect pens."
De Valera was often absent from home, in prison, touring in America, or 'on-the-run'.
But when he was at home with his beloved Sinead and family he was an indulgent father even though his children remained in awe of him. But life was not deadly serious as some might imagine.
The family did not entertain very much except for a close-knit circle of friends.
At one party the guests were cabinet members Frank Aiken, Dr Jim Ryan and Gerry Boland. Charades were popular then and Terry gives a hilarious account of one such.
His father and his three cabinet colleagues disappeared from the drawing room.
Some time elapsed but at last the door was pushed open and astonishingly all four appeared on their hands and knees and a large pair of antlers, from the corridor upstairs, strapped to his father's head.
As they came in they made "weird noises" as though imitating wild animals.
On a more serious note the author rejects completely a sort of cult in which his father's detractors accused him of suffering a near nervous breakdown in time of crisis.
He said the truth was the opposite as he could testify being "physically present" when Dev dealt with such serious major incidents as the threatened invasion at Christmas 1940, the delivery of the 'now or never' note from Churchill, the bombing of Belfast and the delivery of the American note in 1944.
On all these, and other occasions, he insisted that his father displayed a complete calm and self control often envied by his family.
He gives a graphic account of the night when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour.
The phone rang at 1.30am and he saw his father outside his room with a dressing gown over his pyjamas.
He was not wearing glasses and his hair was somewhat dishevelled. Within half an hour Sir John Maffer, the British representative, arrived by car delivering a special message from Winston Churchill.
The following morning Dev told his son that Maffey told him that Churchill was in high spirits, celebrating America's almost certain entry into the war, sending telegrams in all directions and was highly intoxicated.
"Some commentators have tried to maintain that father turned down an offer by Churchill to end partition when he used the words "now is your chance, now or never. A nation once again".
"Such a theory is without foundation, grossly misleading and patently false.
"For to take one important point alone, the unionists in the north had not been consulted. "Certainly I can confirm that when father told me the story of Maffey's visit he did not mince his words in describing Churchill as being drunk on the night in question."
His father, he said, was however much more concerned that this note was some form of threat or ultimatum.
"As he told me, his primary concern was not the solution to partition but rather the grave danger of an imminent invasion by the British or some pretext for such."
This is just my snapshot of a most absorbing story of the life and times of the De Valera family.
The author stresses in his prologue that one of the reasons which prompted him to write this memoir was the detailed record which his mother wrote specially for him in which she sets out many aspects of her anxious, stressful and exceptionally long life.
Here surely is a unique insight into the history of our time written with humour and sympathy for the dramatis personae who stalk these pages.