Provocatively titled "England's Greatest Spy: Eamon de Valera," American author John Turi's book claims that Dev was so afraid of losing his life during the 1916 Rising that he became an informant for the British.

The 470-page book was published in Ireland in 2009 and in the U.S. in 2010 by Stacey International, a London publisher specializing in politics and history. It claims that the New York-born Irish leader was on the take from the British for many years.

The author, whose wife was born in Ireland, researched the book for ten years and says De Valera was a somewhat marginal figure who suffered much rejection during his childhood.

Turi’s research and findings led him to paint a less than flattering picture of Dev’s role in the 1916 Rising.

Turi, a retired U.S. naval officer and historian from Princeton New Jersey, told the Irish Independent about De Valera's attitude during the 1916 Rising:

"After staying awake for several days and being gripped by fear, [de Valera] abandoned his men and slipped out of Boland's at noon on the Sunday, taking with him a British prisoner . . . as his insurance against being shot before he could surrender.

"De Valera the cowardly, incompetent, mentally unstable officer who deserted his troops was (later) repackaged as de Valera the lonely hero fighting valiantly against overwhelming odds."

Turi believes that De Valera was spared because he turned informant while being held at Kilmainham jail, not because he was born in America.

He suspects that Dev was susceptible to influence, attributing this quality to rejection by his family during his formative years, as well as by the church, which rejected his ambitions of priesthood.

Turi also claims that de Valera helped set up Michael Collins’ assassination at Beal Na Blath in Cork, and that Irish neutrality during World War II was a façade.

*Originally published October 2009.