on 20 October 2012
This is a worthy book with many points of interest. Inevitably you are left wanting to hear more from some witnesses and less or nothing from others. These statements made to the Bureau of Military History by primarily republican participants in the Irish War of Independence are a valuable and useful record. That said I found the book rather pedestrian. The Author has focused on lesser known contributions and generally avoided the big set piece events of that period. The layout of the book is part of the problem. It is partly thematic and partly geographical and draws on statements from those based in less active areas or in more peripheral areas such as the Dail Courts or Cumann na mBan. It does a good job of giving fair weight to events in Northern Ireland, so often a forgotten issue. This structure gives the book a clumsy and sometimes repetitive feel as it bounces to and fro though the period in chapter after chapter. I can see what the Author was trying to do but for me at least it made the book rather tiresome to read. I also found the linkages between the statements rather weak and they did little to illuminate the statements. The commentary is pretty uncritical and the narration of events adheres to a conventional interpretation of the course of the War. Worth a read for anyone interested in the period but it could have been a better book.