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From A Clear Blue Sky: Surviving the Mountbatten Bomb Hardcover – 24 Aug 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Hutchinson (24 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091931460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091931469
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Ms. M. Kinahan on 25 Aug 2009
Format: Hardcover
A well told, easy to read story. Interesting to hear from a survivors point of view. All aspects of life in the days before and after the incident are so well described,one almost feels transported back to the days leading up to the event. The story is one of a very close, large family who in a couple of minutes are totally transformed forever, the author captures the emotion of the days, weeks and years that follow perfectly. Truly Worth Reading
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Dr. B. Jay on 14 Sep 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is an intelligent, brave and moving book which tells of the terrible event which shatters a family. Much more than an account of the violence committed on the day in question, the book charts the writer's journey back to his childhood and the ways in which he eventually moves from grief to mourning for what he, his brother and his family have lost. The book is detailed in its research and incorporates Timothy Knatchbull's journal entries as he comes, many years later, to revisit the places, people, and experiences of that time. Utterly compelling.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Audrey G. Martin on 15 Sep 2009
Format: Hardcover
Earl Mountbatten's grandson goes into painstaking [and for him very painful] detail about the events leading up to the 1979 murders. He introduces an attractive, happy family and describes how they spent that Bank Holiday morning. His description of the explosion, the rescue and treatment of the casualties, and the recovery of the bodies of Lord Mountbatten, Nicholas Knatchbull and Paul Maxwell, is based partly on what he comprehended at the time in his badly shocked and injured state, but mostly on what he has since learned from eye witnesses. Paying tribute to all that was done for him and his parents during their slow recovery, he expresses sincere praise for the people who pulled them from the sea and took them to hospital, and for the doctors, surgeons and nurses who worked over them. He also tells movingly of the unstinting practical and moral support received from the rest of the family, including the Queen and Prince Charles, and explains movingly what it means to lose a twin. In 2003, after he had rebuilt his life, taken up a career, married and had children, he went back to Ireland - which his grandfather and the family had always loved - talked at length to their many friends near Classiebawn [including Paul Maxwell's father] and learned how the bombing had affected so many people of Ireland, whose sense of shock and outrage at the killings was great. His talks to the doctors included seeing postmortem reports and harrowing photographs and, by meeting the police and others involved, he has pieced together and described the arrests and trial. The book - as well as providing an invaluable account of the atrocities - seems to have helped him come to terms with his brother's loss, to understand some of the background, and to hope a happier future awaits a place he and his family always enjoyed visiting and meeting with true friends.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. Thompson on 1 Oct 2009
Format: Hardcover
I only bought and read this book because of the moving interview I heard with the author on the radio, when I heard him speaking about the events of 1979 and the subsequent emotional and political fallout that followed, I felt compelled to read the full account. This is a story that all families can relate to and understand, its a story of love and honour bound with a full sense of history and patriotism. Knatchbull could easily have wallowed in self pity, but he doesn't, instead he shows remarkable fortitude and strength in the intimate and caring style in which he has chosen to tell this most personal story. It's a beautiful book, and the family at the core could be from almost any walk of life, at no point does the fact that Mountbatten, being the grandson of Queen Victoria make it difficult for the reader to identify with the family and character's within. This is a history book, a story book, and a window looking into our structure and very being as a nation, its a book about ordinary people in an extraordinary situation. The book also gives us a remarkable insight to subjects that are usually misunderstood or misplaced, such as IRA activity and government policy and structure at the time of the so called "troubles" in Ireland. I was incredibly moved by some of the accounts within this book, it must have been so very difficult to have covered the more sensitive issues, but as I say, its not indulgent, just a thoroughly good read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. M. C. Williams on 31 Oct 2009
Format: Hardcover
I must say that at times I found this story so distressing I had to put it down, and couldn't read it straight through without days in between. The author describes a journey back to Ireland, primarily with the intention of being able to say goodbye to his brother, who had been taken from him suddenly and brutally. The political questions are secondary to the emotional journey of confronting pain and loss, but the author open-mindedly and generously considers the political backdrop to the events he describes and the developments of later years, rejoicing in the end of the Troubles, and accepting the resulting prominence of certain controversial political figures.
What is most striking about the book is the author's ability to return to childhood, and evoke the tenderness of the child while writing as a man in middle life, who has lived courageously and successfully, but not without a large amount of suffering. The two personae - that of the child and that of the adult - seem to exist concurrently as strong presences in the book. This ability to evoke the emotions of childhood is a quality which even great stylists cannot always do convincingly. The book is at times deeply painful to read, but it is a tender symphony of love to a lost brother, and a compassionate account by a man with extraordinary insight into himself and outreaching love for other people. It is also, in its way, a celebration of life and joy as well. All in all, a tough read, but I strongly recommend it.
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