‘an essential book … closely-reasoned, formidably intelligent and utterly compelling … required reading across the political spectrum … important and riveting’ Roy Foster, The Times ‘an outstanding new book on the IRA … a calm, rational but in the end devastating deconstruction of the IRA’ Henry McDonald, Observer ‘superb … the first full history of the IRA and the best overall account of the organization. English writes to the highest scholarly standards … Moreover, he writes with the common reader in mind: he has crafted a fine balance of detail and analysis and his prose is clear, fresh and jargon-free … sets a new standard for debate on republicanism’ Peter Hart, Irish Times ‘a work which eclipses all other studies of the IRA and must now be regarded as the single most important book on the topic … a penetrating and rewarding study’ Keith Jeffery, Times Literary Supplement ‘excellent book’ Patrick Bishop, Daily Telegraph ‘the best analytical history of the IRA yet written. Even those who grew up with the Troubles will find it a provocative and freshly compelling work. More importantly, perhaps, fifty years from now it will still be required reading – generations who look back and wonder what the Northern conflict was all about will find many of their answers here. Superb … the rigour and depth of English’s analysis is exceptional’ Niall Strange, Sunday Business Post ‘fluent, fascinating account of the origins, actions and ideologies of that caucus of shadows, the Provisional IRA … an enormous challenge of narrative, historical research and tact. In all these regards, English succeeds … his description of what he refers to as the “personal” consequences of republican violence is ultimately as heartbreaking as it is dispassionate’ Joseph O’Neill, Guardian ‘a great book. What impressed me most was the way Richard English managed to present such an historical and contradictory mess with such clarity and fairness. The book grabbed and held me like a very good novel’ Roddy Doyle, author of A Star Called Henry ‘This is a book whose time has come. At a historic moment when Irish republicanism is in the process of redefining itself, a highly-talented historian gives a compelling analysis of its past. The book’s genius lies in its non-judgemental approach, an approach which has induced many leading republicans to speak more frankly to Richard English than they have done to any previous historian. This mixture of skilful historical research and totally new personal statements from key republicans makes this a captivating, authoritative and highly readable book. It is masterly and hard-hitting and is likely to become something of a modern classic.’ Marianne Elliott, author of The Catholics of Ulster ‘an impressive achievement … Richard English’s study is the most probing and thorough analysis
Peter Hart (Author of THE IRA AND ITS ENEMIES), January 2003
...the best account by far of the twentieth century's longest war... If you want to know where the IRA came from and how they think, this is the book to read.