Rise and Demise. The Life and Career of Sir Cornelius Alfred Moloney by Dermot Deering
The story of the gradual rise but ultimate demise of a soldier, colonial administrator and diplomat from an Irish background in the Victorian era of the British Empire.
The book takes us through the life of Cornelius Alfred Moloney from his early days as a young army officer and then his career as he rose up the colonial diplomatic hierarchy to positions of seniority in West Africa and the Caribbean.
As his life and career evolved, Moloney demonstrated a deep commitment to the countries and people he became responsible for and in his writings, showed this loyalty in promoting the local economies he represented.
A growing appreciation and love of botany was central to his activities and the book lays out his relationship with the Botanic Gardens in Kew and how this helped him promote his botanical interests overseas, raising the botanical profile of the countries he worked in.
Ultimately, a successful career ended in ignominy and an intriguing aspect of Moloney’s story is why things fell apart when they did, at a time he was at the height of his success.
The book will be of interest to those keen on colonial history and the Irish contribution to empire with the twist of a person who became deeply drawn to merging the botanical and the economic interests of West Africa.