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A Secret History of the IRA Paperback – 5 Jun 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (5 Jun 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014101041X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141010410
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 171,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By john cook on 22 July 2003
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be a daunting read filled with references and appendices which meant that reading had to be carried out at a fairly slow pace. The facts and figures were clearly meticuously researched and the author has tackled a very daunting sublect fairly well. There was no mention at all of the Brighton bombing in the book despite this being one of the pivotal atrocities of armed struggle. The focus of the book is the peace process in Northern Ireland and the evolving policies of the key figures in the process, notably Martin McGuiness and Gerry Adams. The author highlights the change in the republican stance over the years and explains how political chicanery and horse trading were employed to expediate the vision of Adams and McGuiness. This book has some fascinating information but requires diligent reading. Overall, worth a read but heavy going.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. M. O'connell on 29 May 2009
Format: Paperback
One of the best books of the many I've read concerning result Irish history . Superbly detailed & obviously very well researched . Certainly many of the facts contained are not known to the general public although I believe it will be a most useful to future generations .
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Jun 2003
Format: Paperback
Ed Maloney has been renowned in Ireland for his excellent coverage of Northern Ireland affairs. As the Northern Editor for The Irish 'Sunday Tribune' he witnessed some of the landmark events of the regions troubled history. 'The Secret History of the IRA' is an insightful book into the inner workings of the Republican Movement over this period - it shows in all its complexity the political wranglings, the personalities and the differences in ideology that brought the Provisional IRA into the stalemate of the peace process and launched such hardline groups as the Real IRA. In doing so it covers areas of Republican history that so many other books have either been unable or too afraid to analyse. This is a brilliant read, absolutely gripping and enlightening all at once. No bookshelf on Irish affairs should be without this.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Douglas on 28 Nov 2004
Format: Paperback
Much of the book is taken up with the peace process of the 1980s and 1990s and the series of negotiations that took place. Other books have documented these events and this period just as well - Brendan O' Brien, Eamonn Mallie and David McKittrick, Déaglán de Breadún and Peter Taylor. What exactly does Moloney's book add to these earlier accounts apart from the apparent notion that Gerry Adam's ideas about changing Republican strategy dated further back than we were previously led to believe, that Charles Haughey was more involved than previously met the eye, and that the Brits had managed to get touts to senior levels in the Republican movement? None of this seemed to be of earth shattering importance or insight to this reader, and certainly not surprising.
What is new is Moloney's detailed descriptions of the two IRA Conventions in 1996 and 1997. If he is to be believed, and there seems little reason to question the accuracy, Moloney clearly got hold of a very good source, presumably someone opposed to the line that Adams and others were pursuing.
After trudging my way through over 400 pages, the book suddenly and inexplicably brings the whole story up to the present, or at least 2001, when the IRA made its historic statement about putting weapons "beyond use". Huge chunks of political development are suddenly jumped over. Yet, the late 1990s was a period of immense change, both for the Republican movement and the Irish political situation more generally.
During this more recent period, but also in earlier years, there are some amazing and glaring omissions. The political effects of the Hunger Strikes are not given prominence.
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Format: Paperback
Having an Irish Catholic father and English protestant mother I have a special interest in the history of the troubles in Ireland. I was only 8 years old in 1969 so was looking forward to reading this book to gain more insight as to what actually occurred.

In general this book gave a comprehensive record of the troubles but was more of a tribute to Gerry Adams than an unbiased account of events. The author pretty much describes Adams as a master strategist and repeatedly claims that events that were born out of chaos and mayhem were the result of Adams strategic planning. Many of these claims are based on hindsight rather than generally accepted facts from the time, and are not acknowledged by other members of the provisional IRA.
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