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The I.R.A. and Its Enemies Violence and Community in Cork, 1916-1923 [Paperback]

Peter Hart
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
RRP: 30.00
Price: 27.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

18 Nov 1999
This book explores the lives, deaths, enemies, and victims of the most powerful guerrillas of twentieth-century Ireland: those of the Cork I.R.A. between 1916 and 1923. Drawing on an unprecedented body of sources, including numerous interviews this is a uniquely intimate study of revolution, guerrilla war, and ethnic conflict.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; New Ed edition (18 Nov 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198208065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198208068
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 15.7 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 143,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


"Winner of the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize for 1998" -- Publisher

"brilliant book" -- Paul Bew, Spectator

About the Author

Peter Hart is at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
James O'Donoghue was born in 1874 into a large farming family near the town of Cahirciveen, in western Kerry. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting 2 July 2008
A very interesting insight into activities of the IRA in Cork during the War of Independence and subsequent Civil War.
The book is well researched and whilst not particularly flattering in its portrayal of the IRA it does seem well balanced and factually based.
It covers a time in history that has been mythologized in Ireland to a large extent and this book provides a more realistic picture of the period.
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11 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating study of a turbulent time 22 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read a review of this book in the Times back in 1998 when it came out, and kept meaning to read it. Finally I did. Rarely have I encountered a book that has caused a furore amongst historians as this one.
He has been accused by his detractors of being disingenuous with the facts and also supporting his arguments by selecting or deselecting texts in order to give fluency to his arguments. He has also been accused of being untruthful about his anonymous interviews (footnoted throughout the book).

Whatever, this still remains an important book in documenting Irish history and sheds a light in some of the dark corners of the nations birth. He demolishes the myth that the old IRA was totally made of clean limbed broth-of-boys pursuing a noble cause. Rather, some of them had a propensity for cold blooded murder and were quite adept at this.

The book is very academically written and well foot noted, sometimes to the point of ad nauseum. As I have said this book has caused much upset and Hart has defended it in his many interviews since. In the book he labels Tom Barry as cold blooded killer, who may well have shot British Soldiers under a white flag; this accusation has caused outrage amongst some Irish people. I won't argue it here, but I will say that Barry was noted as being a "hard man" who probably was capable of shooting without compunction. It must be remembered that Barry was a decorated NCO who fought and was gassed in the WW1, so he was a battled hardened soldier before joining the volunteers. Bearing in mind that the Black & Tans were also made up of Officers from the great war and that their brutally whilst in Ireland is well documented, surely it must follow that Barry been of the same ilk would behave no differently in combat.
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15 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Forensic cherry picking 5 Jun 2005
By A Customer
The strength of Peter Hart's book is that it contains much empirical data in the form of tables, charts etc., that would save any researcher into this period considerable time. Some have aptly described it as 'forensic'. However, its great weakness is its cherry picking of the results. Two central pillars of his work - his claim that Tom Barry was a serial killer who ordered a massacre at Kilmicheal and that protestants were shot in Dunmanway in a sectarian war, have been called heavily into question recently. It now seems he was wrong on both counts, inexcusable for someone who had taken such meticulous care in assembling the data. Those interested in finding out more should see eg. Ryan, Meda. 'Tom Barry - IRA Freedom Fighter'. Mercier Press. Cork: 2003. There are also innumerable articles and reviews posing the same questions, which researchers relying on Hart's work should be aware of. His book has ushered in new standards of historical research in this area however, despite its shortcomings in dealing with the information at its disposal. I would give it more stars except for the fact that it reneges on its own methodology in ignoring facts that don't fit the theory.
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14 of 24 people found the following review helpful
This is an excellent work of forsenic history writing. Hart examines the war of independence through close study of actual events. He is unbiased and reasons with an absolute devotion to truth. His detractors cant call themselves real historians as they only see history through the prism of their own political sympathies. This book does not favour any one side over another, it shows war/terrorism to be a dirty grubby business. No one emerges with any real credit, the ira with its penchant for arbitrary murder and the state responding with clumsy attempts to deal with an insurgency it does not quite understand. it buries the ideal of a brave and noble conflict and demonstrates quite ably the mixed emotions of those who seek to maim and murder for political objectives. It is a seminal work in debunking the myth of a glorious war of independence and seeks to throw light on the murky origins of the Irish state by those who would prefer to subscribe to a rather simplistic view of history. it is not perfect, it can be a little starchy and overburdened with facts and figures but that said I challenge any one to read the opening chapter describing the murder of a neighbourhood policeman in Cork during the war of independence and still see it as some glorious feat in the annals of irish history. Read this book it can only add to our understanding of Irelands history.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting study of an often hidden history 18 Jun 2012
This is an excellent and informative history of a very turbulent time in Ireland. The book dares to address issues often ignored by other historians such as the terror inflicted on Protestant civilians and other elements of the pro-British community in Cork by the IRA. Some were "disappeared" from their homes,shot and their bodies hidden from their families denying them a Christian burial. Many more were intimidated.

Not for the last time in History the British abandoned their supporters to an unenviable fate. The book provides a real sense of the climate of fear in Cork at the time and the interviews with those involved on all sides is fascinating.

The book also provides an insight into the motivation and tactics of those involved including the IRA volunteers and their opponents.

All in all Peter Hart has produced a remarkable and enthralling study based on detailed examination of original sources.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars a heavily flawed but interesting book
A difficult book to review, and I can see why it has received such polarised feedback.

On the one hand, it has spurred a huge debate. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Red Orchestra
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic!
For anybody interested in this period of Cork history, this is a must. I know loads of people dislike Peter Hart's work (RIP) in this field, but the book cannot be described as... Read more
Published 21 months ago by thefxgeneral
1.0 out of 5 stars The.,
We now know that Peter Hart fabricated much of the evidence for this book. It's a pity that a new scholarly edition is not published outlining the methods by which Hart deceived... Read more
Published on 3 Jun 2012 by Clara
1.0 out of 5 stars A work of fiction
Hart is a proving liar.
He claimed he interviewed two unnamed IRA Kilmichael ambush veterans although only one Kilmichael veteran was alive at the time of his claims and he... Read more
Published on 15 Aug 2011 by Mr review for you
1.0 out of 5 stars Lies, Damned Lies and Peter Hart
The late Peter Hart was one of the most notable British neo-colonial historians of the last twenty years, excusing away Britain's rule and misrule in Ireland, and this... Read more
Published on 30 Aug 2010 by Vampy
1.0 out of 5 stars A Discredited Apologist "History" For Britain's Role In Ireland
Canadian historian Peter Hart has gained notoriety both in Ireland and abroad in recent years, with a number of fellow historians and academics accusing him of being one of the... Read more
Published on 29 Nov 2009 by An Sionnach
1.0 out of 5 stars The I.R.A. and its enemy.
Every historian has an agenda,none of them are impartial.When i read this book a couple of years ago i left it with an uneasy feeling, I didn't mind having to sift through the... Read more
Published on 13 Nov 2009 by C. J. Shannon
3.0 out of 5 stars A Devils Advocate?
Reading Hart's work one is left feeling there should be a section of books classified as `Devils Advocates', that is to say books which we do not agree with but challenge our... Read more
Published on 23 May 2008 by D O'Meara
1.0 out of 5 stars Utter imperialistic rubbish
There should be minus ratings this would have recieved the maximum. Hart is a joke, his pro British attempt to re-write factual history is a disgrace to the Irish people, this is... Read more
Published on 9 July 2006 by Robert wallace Hughs
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