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Insider: Gerry Bradley's Life in the IRA [Paperback]

Gerry Bradley , Brian Feeney
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

28 Feb 2011

The IRA was Gerry Bradley’s life. His sole interest was in ‘ops’ – carrying out on-the-ground war. Inspired, initially, to defend his home place against Loyalist threats, he became one of the most senior operators in Belfast IRA. When things turned political, there seemed to be no place for his kind of activism.


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Insider: Gerry Bradley's Life in the IRA + Stakeknife: Britain's Secret Agents in Ireland + Voices from the Grave: Two Men's War in Ireland
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Product details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: The O'Brien Press; 2 edition (28 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184717258X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847172587
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 375,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'raw and authentic' (Irish Independent)

'Gerry Bradley’s story deserves to be told, if only as a cautionary tale' (Irish Independent)

'a riveting read' (Sunday Times)

'Bradley may have achieved nothing in his war, but he and Feeney have turned a wasted life into a rattling good read.' (Sunday Times)

'280 pages of gripping revelations' (North Belfast News)

'not comfortable reading but it is important for what understanding it provides ... authentic' (Books Ireland)

'gives a fascinating, if chilling, account of many of the major events of the period' (Books Ireland)

About the Author

Brian Feeney, a political columnist with the Irish News, is a leading nationalist commentator and frequent broadcaster on Northern Ireland affairs. He was an SDLP councillor for sixteen years. He is co-author of Lost Lives: the story of the men, women and children killed in the Northern Ireland troubles. In 2001 the book won the Christopher Ewart-Biggs award for its contribution to reconciliation in Ireland and Europe. A historian by profession, he is Head of History at St Mary's University College, Belfast.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tedious. 21 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Why did I buy this I ask. It suddenly came to me that people like this should not be rewarded for their past actions. A dismam tale of vandalism and criminality.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Insular rather than informed 6 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Interesting ...... up to a point.

Not particularly well written nor really incisive. Often superficial: considering the narrative is from an insider's point of view.

Insular rather than informed...........worth 99p if you want a one sided view of the troubles but do not pay full price!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Gerry Bradley's Life 26 April 2014
By Big Mal
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not as good as I thought it would be having read various books on the troubles in Northern Ireland, although I have read worse.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very good 25 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
thank you. another interesting book on the troubles.Other more recent books are now telling the story from another perspective now some of the major players have died.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Ireland went through shell 22 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
hard hitting book about all Ireland's troubles . it was a bit one sided and two or three things came out of a John Wayne script . it did show very well what the people had to endure for years
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars insider 15 April 2011
Sadly this book does not live up to anything near the blurb on the cover.Incidents are glossed over in a matter of paragraphs and in some cases by a few sentences.It is mainly a brief synopsis of the history of the Provisional IRA from its birth in 1971 to its eventual collapse in 2005.The book could be used mainly as a reference point to explore in depth a number of different times and events in the history of the "Troubles" and in particular the PIRA's involvement in them.The birth of the PIRA,Internment,the H-Blocks(Blanket protests/Hunger strikes)and the eventual Peace process.All these areas are covered in far more depth in other publications

Gerry Bradleys comments weaved throughout the book in between Brian Feeneys history lesson are insightful but are too few to label this book as his story.He is merely a character used to highlight the various eras in which the PIRA operated.The book itself is padded out to over 300 pages with the use of large type with plenty of spaces between the words and the sentences.3-4 hours should see the whole book read.

A useful story for people starting to explore Northern Irish politics but not the grand expose promised by the author on the cover.If Gerry Bradley was hounded to his death because of this books content then those who did the hounding need to take a serious look at themselves.Other than some personal recollections by Gerry there was nothing in this book which I didn't know already.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be read by all 7 Jan 2011
the author of this book, Gerry Bradley, died shortly after the publication. He was driven to his death by book burners, and regardless if you agree with the authors's words, you should buy this book just to confound those apes who would wish us all to have no personal thoughts. The book actually is very enjoyable and gives an insight into one man's viewpoint of why he fought in a war. There are other excellent books out there wrote by ex-IRA men and two I would highly recommend. The Blanket Men by Richard O'Rawe Blanketmen: An Untold Story of the H-block Hunger Strike and of course the classic, On The Brinks On the Brinks by Irish crime writer, Sam Millar, now available on Kindle On The Brinks: The Extended Edition
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This is a useful record for future chroniclers of the so-called NI conflict, compiled by Brian Feeney, who is a competent historian. I write this from the POV of a democratic Irish nationalist who believes that the generation of mayhem in the North contributed to mostly by the Provos but also loyalist paramilitaries and State forces was a disaster for all the people of Ireland and whose long-standing belief that the Provisional movement was hopelessly riddled with informers and traitors is being vindicated by the day.

The late Gerry Bradley was brought up and spent most of his life within a very small area of North Belfast, the Carrick Hill/Unity Flats area. Over 30 years he caused mayhem within his area by planting bombs, organising scares, punishment beatings, picking fights, etc. Exiled for a while to New York, he just continued the same pattern of life.

He was cunning enough in the narrative not to implicate himself in any actual murders, but he must have despatched plenty of people to their graves. He co-operated with Feeney because he felt 'betrayed' by the Peace Process, and the head honchos of the movement filling their boots with loot, houses in Donegal and on the Continent but he had absolutely no insight into the fact that he was a useless, aggressive, mal-adjusted sociopath who contributed absolutely nothing to society during his singularly miserable life. He was driven to suicide, asphyxiating himself in a car park in Carrickfergus and the world would have been a better place if he had never been born.
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