18 October 2021
By Tom Collins
Brian O’Donovan is a Corkman (his wife is from Crosshaven) with a smooth voice. He makes being bald look good, and he always seems to be well turned out in a suit. He will be known to many – who no longer watch linear TV – from a friendly parody by fellow Corkman Comedian Tadgh Hickey (patreon.com/tadhghickey).
Now, the real Brian O’Donovan has returned to Ireland, and has published a book looking back on his time as RTE News’ Washington (and indeed all of the US) Correspondent. To promote his new book he been doing signings locally, and spoke on RedFM this morning where he began his news career some 20 years ago.
‘Four Years in the Cauldron’ is his account of four busy years working in the US. He draws a compelling picture, full of telling colour and detail, of covering its fractured politics, particularly the extraordinary presidency of Donald Trump and the knife-edge election of Joe Biden. And he gives his unique perspective on big stories such as the Covid emergency, the Capitol riot, the murder of George Floyd and trial and conviction of his police killer. He also provides a visceral sense of what it’s like living in a country shaped by guns, God, far-fetched conspiracy theories and the running sore of racism. Yet, drawing on his network of contacts, neighbours, friends and family connections outside the white-hot heat of Washington politics, he writes about the lives of ordinary American people with nuance and understanding. Four Years in the Cauldron is the riveting story of a nation at a crucial crossroads. It is a must-read for getting to grips with the US at a moment of profound reckoning.