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Talking to Terrorists: Face to Face with the Enemy Paperback – 1 Sep 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPress (1 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007325533
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007325535
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 203,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Reviews for ‘Brits: The War against the IRA’:

‘As one has come to expect from Taylor, the research is meticulous, accurate and balanced’ Irish Times

‘Important and impressive’ Sunday Tribune

‘Helps us understand the moment of truth we have now reached in the peace process … could not be more topical’ Irish Independent

‘[A] clear account of a muddled history’ Guardian

About the Author

Peter Taylor is a highly respected BBC investigative journalist who has reported on terrorism for over 35 years. He began his career covering Bloody Sunday, and his Troubles trilogy – ‘Provos’, ‘Loyalists’ and ‘Brits’ – is considered to be the definitive account of the conflict. Following peace in Northern Ireland his focus switched to the new security threat posed by Al Qaeda and he has since presented three television series on the Islamic terror threat: ‘The New Al-Qaeda’, ‘The Age of Terror’ and ‘Generation Jihad’. In 2002 he received an OBE for services to broadcasting, and in 2008 he was awarded the highly prestigious James Cameron Memorial Prize ‘for work as a journalist that combined moral vision and professional integrity’.


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By emma who reads a lot TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 May 2011
Format: Hardcover
Not my usual fare, I bought this after reading an enthusiastic review in the Guardian and seeing Peter Taylor on BBC News 24. The book quickly became a page-turner: it is highly personal, as all the interviewees in the book are people Taylor tracked down and met, often encountering some danger along the way. I found it difficult to put down at night, so gripping was it reading each new chapter with the new characters and terrible histories it introduced.

The book begins with a section on the IRA, which introduces the shadowy neutral characters who liased between IRA and British government at times both denied they were talking to the other. Then it turns to Al-Qaeda, which is if anything even more interesting, as Taylor tracks down the young men from Buffalo who ended up in a Bin Laden training camp, for example, and traces the route taken by the contents of the never-exploded fertiliser bombs of 2004. The experiences of a young man who got to training camp and realised he'd made a dreadful mistake are also intriguing.

Taylor's main thesis seems to be that these 'terrorists' are mainly young men who are not crazy or psychotic and who have families that love them, but who are slowly converted to the idea of jihad by persuasive individuals who know how to focus attention on the sufferings of Muslims worldwide, such as in Gaza or Chechnya. Whether or not you agree with this, it makes for interesting reading. He talks to mothers, schoolteachers, spies and FBI men in his quest to understand the phenomenon, and the level of detail is impressive.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Park on 1 July 2011
Format: Hardcover
Taylor is a man of great conscience, patience and impartiality. Establishing his credentials with a remarkable personal narration of the history behind the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland, he then goes on to show how the successes of dialogue in that conflict are being ignored for the most part by current policymakers in the Middle East.

Taylor's style is generally easy, and he intersperses his narration with curious and amusing co-incidences. My favourite example was the stern San Francisco sherrif who he charmed into co-operation with relations of their shared experiences at the 1957 World Boy Scout Jamboree in Sutton Coldfield.

In the end, his careful and studied practice of explaining but not judging pays off. He has a lot of experience to share and modern-day policy makers would be advised to sit down for a few hours and read this book.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Neutral VINE VOICE on 8 Jun. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Peter Taylor has been writing about terrorists for the past forty years and his books get better and better. He has not written an academic book but "a readable and accessible narrative" to illuminate "the complexities and contradictions of (terrorism) and bring a degree of clarity to the confusion and incomprehension that often surround it." Taylor concentrates on the IRA and Al Qaeda. He sees both as terrorists, the IRA using it as a political ploy and Al Qaeda to demonstrate the correctness of their ideology. Hence Gerry Adams described the latter as terrorist but his own organisation as nationalist volunteers. Sinn Fein historians apply different standards to different sides in the conflict in Ireland. In addition, Sinn Fein practices emotional detatchment from their actions. The recent appointment of Mary McArdle, who was part of a gang which attempted to murder a Catholic magistrate and killed his daughter, as a special adviser to the Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin is indicative of their insensitivity. Both had been in prison together. McArdle's comment that the killing had been a "mistake" did not stretch to providing the names of the other gang members. Historically, many prominent politicians had been labelled terrorists including, Jomo Kenyatta, Mechachem Begin, Yasser Arafat, Nelson Mandela while, despite frequent denials, Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams, endorsed terrorist attacks.

Taylor goes behind the officially stated political positions to discover the origins of the peace process in Northern Ireland. While the British government was adamant it would not negotiate with terrorists, obscure lines of communication were maintained through Brendan Duffy and Michael Oatley and occasional face to face meeting between IRA leaders and British Government ministers.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really interesting book-especially when commenting on the background work done during the Northern Ireland peace process. Lots of commentary that I'd not come across before.
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