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Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA Hardcover – 21 Mar 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; 1st Edition edition (21 Mar. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405001089
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405001083
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 769,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

...at its most compulsive in its sympathetic but relentless exploration of the arguments and logic that led the IRA and Sinn Fein to their present position. -- Roy Foster, The Times 02 April 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. -- Peter Hart (Author of THE IRA AND ITS ENEMIES), January 2003

...work distinguished ...by a deep understanding of the mentalities that drive Republican violence, as well as a sensitivity to its cost. -- Professor George Boyce

The most remarkable thing about Armed Struggle is the degree of objectivity English attains... an impressive achievement. -- Independent, April 2003

What impressed me most was the way Richard English managed to present such an historical and contradictory mess with such clarity and fairness. -- Roddy Doyle, January 2003

About the Author

Richard English was born in Belfast in 1963. He is Professor of Politics at Queen's University, Belfast, and his previous books include Ernie O'Malley: IRA Intellectual (1998) and Radicals and the Republic: Socialist Republicanism in the Irish Free State 1925-1937 (1994). He lives in Belfast and Donegal. --This text refers to the Digital Download edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By QWERTY11 on 11 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
Any book written on Northern Ireland's recent conflict will be accused of bias, but any such accusation against this book is wholly unfounded.

This book takes you right through the IRA's history, from the early 20th right up to the early 21st century. The author, Richard English, is probably the world's foremost authority on the subject.

If you are looking for a book that will endlessly glorify or demonise the IRA, this is not for you. The author leaves the job of forming opinions on morality up to you whilst he dispenses facts in great storytelling rhetoric. I have seen lectures given by the author; on a personal level he is deeply opposed to the IRA, but you would not be able to tell that from this book. He remains a historian and spares you his opinion.

I had a fair knowledge of the IRA before reading this and I imagine someone completely unfamiliar with Northern Ireland's history might be a bit overwhelmed with the detail that the book goes into. Similarly, if you're only interested in "The Troubles" rather than all the history behind it you would do well to skip ahead a few chapters.

The author has sought out and interviewed many IRA members, giving him a knowledge of how the IRA was 'on the ground' that a lot of high level political books like this miss out. If you are from Ireland / Northern Ireland, this book will teach you a lot about the history that created the circumstance our country is currently in.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jack Fleetwood on 30 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
An outstanding analysis of one of the most clinical, ruthless and ultimately fascinating guerrilla organisations of the modern period.

The strength of this thesis is the fine, balanced approach which the author assumes throughout. It is neither a study blurred by romantic idealism or outright, irrational condemnation.

This is not necessarily a chronological narrative - although it does cover a vast array of historical sources - but rather an intimate study of the socio-political dimensions which have permeated the insurrectionist, Republican movement since its primitive, embryonic form at the beginning of the 20thC until its eventual absorption into the constitutional framework of democratic politics at the dawn of the 21st.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By 10jflow on 23 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
"Armed Struggle" is easily the most accurate, well written and balanced account of the IRA I've read. English's thorough scholorship and intelligent analysis is a welcome improvement from less rigorous, journalistic works on republicans. The narrative is clear, concise and accessible. English has produced a detailed and informative history of the IRA with thoughtful analysis. I was very suprised to find that another reviewer found it "biased", because I have read a large portion of the vast available literature on "the Troubles" and with this work English successfully avoids the partiality or sensationalism that characterises so much of the literature on this subject. This is an extremely valuable resource for anyone interested in the IRA, "the Troubles", or Irish nationalism and history in general.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gilly dee on 4 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An indepth study of this organisation.
factual and full of insight at a personal level.
Impressed with the authors ability to detach himself from taking sides and evaluating the facts as presented by the organisation.
Always worth remembering there are two sides to every story and this presents just one side.

history has a habit of repeating itself hope this time lessons can be learned in time!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is by far the best book on this subject that I have ever read,it gives a true and honest history of I.R.A. politics and thinking.
It is totally non bias and does not support or condemn the armed struggle but rather lets you get inside the organisation and understand where they came from and where they would like to go into the future.
The book is very heavy in places as far as the political thinking of Irish republicans goes but you will never lose interest.
The most honest and educational book of Irish history to date.
I highly recommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA is written as an objective overview of one of the most controversial armed groups in recent Irish/UK history, from inception through to contemporary splinter groups. Richard English achieves this through a clear and engaging narrative which is detailed and well researched, but not at the cost of pace or intrigue in the story itself.

If you are looking for a well balanced, well written account of the IRA you should most definitely read this book.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mr M Ventress on 26 Nov. 2005
Format: Paperback
Being half Irish,but not having lived in Ireland,Ihave for a long time had an intrest in Irish history. when I first saw this book I wasn't sure if it was for me. Having bought and read it, I'm very pleased I did.Richard English has produced what others have failed to do.The research and attention to detail is incredible.He has given a fair and balanced account of the 'troubles'from the 1916 Easter rising to the turn of the century.I found it quite heavy reading in places, having to absorb such an enormous of information,both social and political. Anyone intrested in Irish hitory should read it, as it fills a big gap and provides a lot of answers.
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