A.P. Magill (1871–1941) was born in Dublin of mixed Ulster and Swiss descent. After a varied career in the Irish civil service, he moved to the Ministry of Home Affairs in Northern Ireland before resigning prematurely in 1925. As private secretary to Augustine Birrell, the Chief Secretary whose resignation was prompted by the 1916 Rising, Magill was well placed to observe the often bizarre workings of the pre-revolutionary Irish administration. His subsequent postings in Dublin and Belfast likewise made him an invaluable witness of conflicts associated with revolution and partition.
Magill's unpublished memoirs provide unique insights into the problems and personalities he encountered as a senior civil official. They are also entertaining, anecdotal, and bristling with unexpected information about prominent politicians and administrators. These selections for the troubled period between 1913 and 1925 edited by Magill's great-nephew, recreate the atmosphere and colour of the revolutionary period from a revealing but unfamiliar perspective