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Beauty and Atrocity: People, Politics and Ireland's Fight for Peace [Hardcover]

Joshua Levine
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

27 May 2010

An ambitious and powerful account of modern Irish history through the eyes of those who experienced it at first hand.

Forty years after the Provisional IRA was formed and British troops arrived in Ireland, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness sit together as leaders of a devolved Northern Irish government, in which Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionists share power. The Troubles appear to be over; the future promises to be quite different from the past. But recent events perhaps suggest otherwise, as old tensions rise to the forefront once more.

Through countless interviews with the people from both sides that lived through, participated in and were victims of the Troubles, the author builds a picture of the attitudes and the beliefs that shaped three decades of Ireland's history. There are those whose lives have been shattered, those who have tried to ignore the realities, those who have attempted to bridge the divide, those who do not accept the peace, and some who refuse to look back at all.

What emerges is a balanced and wide-ranging account that explores the struggle between ideology and compassion, how the battles and politics of centuries ago still define people's attitudes towards their neighbours today, and how political injustice and the course of time can make a complex reality seem like simple history.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (27 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007309473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007309474
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 667,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joshua Levine is the author of Operation Fortitude and On a Wing and a Prayer. He is also a playwright and writer for television. His last book, Beauty and Atrocity, a history of the Irish Troubles, was shortlisted for the Writers' Guild Non Fiction Book of the Year Award.

Product Description


'A process described with fascinating precision and concision by Joshua Levine…the importance of the book lies in its human details, the individual stories of heroism and tragedy that lie behind dry historical fact.' – Mature Times

About the Author

Joshua Levine is the author of Forgotten Voices of the Blitz and the Battle for Britain and Forgotten Voices of the Somme. He is also a playwriter and writer for television, and was the researcher for Max Arthur on three of the Forgotten Voices series.

His first book for Collins, On a Wing and a Prayer, was the story of the pioneering aviation heroes of the First World War.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balance! 18 April 2012
By Mackey
I Have read a fair few books about the troubles recently and by far this is the most balanced account. Finally it seems to give an account of both sides of the conflict in personal detail and furthermore seems to involve the loyalist paramilitaries as much as the Republicans so you can get an understanding of both view points.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding and Empathy 10 Aug 2010
By Richard V. Phillips - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I find Levine's book an outstanding presentation of the motivations leading to the currently
quiet situation in Northern Ireland. It's a teriffic effort to lay out the reasons behind the conflict that
began hundreds of years ago and now totters on a perilous peace sown with its own seeds of unresolved
hatreds. I found particularly refreshing his remarkable ability to blend "hard history" with living history
as embodied in the eyewitness accounts of actual participants. Readers of this book will not only gain a
fuller understanding but will develop some semblance of empathy for those involved.
5.0 out of 5 stars A captivating look at not just the history of the Troubles, but also the people affected 24 Jun 2014
By T. Bridenstine - Published on
I like to read about history, but often, the books I read are full of dates, statistics, and politicians, and other famous people. "Beauty and Atrocity" gives some background and history on the Troubles, but the bulk of it is made up of interviews with people from all walks of life in Northern Ireland. It's refreshing to see not just the facts, but how events affected real people.
If you're interested in Irish history, especially the Troubles, this is a must-read book. Even if it's not your thing, you might find this book interesting all the same
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