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Blanketmen: An Untold Story of the H-block Hunger Strike [Paperback]

Richard O'Rawe
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: 13.99
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Frequently Bought Together

Blanketmen: An Untold Story of the H-block Hunger Strike + Ten Men Dead: Story of the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike + One Day In My Life
Price For All Three: 26.43

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Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: New Island Books (1 Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904301673
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904301677
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 172,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An astonishing insight into the 1981 Hunger Strike 27 April 2005
By Solo Walker VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I urge you to suspend judgement & read this lucid and honest account of the events that took place inside the H-Blocks. The author tells his story with wry humour starting with how he ended up inside after a bodged up bank robbery for the IRA. He explains the events that led to the dirty protest - where prisoners smeared excrement over their cell walls - and on ultimately to the hunger strike.
He tells of the pressure he felt seeing his mates slowly starving themselves to death to uphold their principles and the fight for their right to political status. Fresh insights are given into the machinations of the republican leadership for which the author is refreshingly open and critical.
O'Rawes book shines with a masculine humanity and camaradarie, without a trace of self pity, that cannot be beaten even in the most desperate of circumstances.
By any standards this is a well written and important memoir.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - and quite disturbing 1 Mar 2007
By helen
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
To get the chance to read the inside story of the hunger strikers in H-Block is definitely fascinating. Down to the last detail of their banter, their despair, the interaction between the prisoners, and the difficult situation of explaining their motives to even close relatives - it's all there in this fascinating account.

However, O'Rawe also raises the controversial subject of whether the hunger strike could possibly have been brought to an earlier end if the Army Council had been preapred to do so. This difficult issue has been extensively discussed, and many people, most notably Danny Morrison, have contradicted O'Rawe's assessment.

Of course, the "common reader" will not be able to decide where the truth ultimately lies. One thing is for sure, though, O'Rawe's account is honest, direct and - by raising that most difficult issue - deeply disturbing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an insight into a dark period in irish history 16 Jan 2012
By brownie
first of all i would say that richard o`rawe has made a very brave decision to tell the truth about a a period of time that still remains a republican cornerstone in the recent troubles in ulster. to have the courage to write this book and take on sinn fein and other former comrades while still living in west belfast must have been a really hard decision to make and he deserves the highest credit for doing so.
having read his follow up book AFTERLIVES and reading how he has been vindicated by former blanketmen in the h blocks during the same period as blanketmen covers i have no doubt that this book is the real truth about what happened during the second hunger strike and how the last five hunger strikers died for nothing else but for the five that went before them and the rise of sinn fein in politics in ulster.
the recent disclosure of offical goverment papers has also lent great weight to o`rawes book and as a loyalist from west belfast who lived through this period i know what personnal courage it must have taken him to write this book and to let the world know the real truth about these brave mens death
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth is sometimes painful 18 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
O'Rawe made himself persona non grata amongst may Irish Republicans after this was published.He was the publicity (propaganda) officer in one of the H Blocks during the hunger strikes of 1981,and what he writes is most revealing.
His vision of the nightmare of the Blocks is well written and convincing.What he has to say about the direction of the hunger strikes is even more so,and partially confirmed by documents published by the British goverment after the original publication.
Put simply,O'Rawe argues that the prisoners on hunger strike were offered a deal by the British after the fourth hunger strike death in the summer of 1981.the deal was asa good as it was going to be,and the prisoners knew that the alternative was the converyor belt of dead hunger strikers continuing.He argues that the leadership outside the prison vetoed the deal and six more prisoners died before more or less the same deal was accepted in October 1981.
Why?Well,the hunger strikes had tapped into a vein of republicanism that expressed itself in voting,obvious examples being Bobby Sands and two prisoners elected to the Irish Dail.the by-election to replace Sands was in August,so if the hunger strikes were ongoing,it gave a republican a very good chance of election. 6 dead prisoners for a real live MP? Politics is not a sentimental business.
No wonder O'Rawe was subject to such hostility.On the other hand,the truth is frequently painful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 20 Aug 2012
I have read many many books about the troubles and the hunger strikes and this is one of the better ones. It is very easy to read and keeps your attention. I would highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great insight into the H-Block struggle 19 July 2012
By owm22
This book provides a fantastic insight into the H-Block struggle. The author provides his own account of his experiences inside the Maze. A great read for anyone who is interested in Republican struggle.
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