This is a critique of IRA strategy from a Belfast journalist with a personal insight. Malachi O'Doherty grew up as a Catholic nationalist in West Belfast, as part of the same generation as the men who were to be the leaders of Sinn Fein and the IRA. O'Doherty was immediately averse to supporting the IRA and felt, at the beginning of the Troubles, a loss of moral bearings, when both the state and the insurgents were in murderous form. The book combines a personal retelling of the period which produced modern Irish Republicanism, with a study of how its political and military strategies have evolved. O'Doherty argues that the achievement of the armed struggle was to create the conditions in which agreement inside Northern Ireland would be impossible, so that those who wished to bring peace would be forced to consider a progression towards Irish unification.
I was born in Muff, County Donegal Ireland, to a barman and a nurse who had met just after the war.
I grew up in Belfast, on a housing estate to the west of the city, in the shadow of Black Mountain and as a child played in fields and on building sites.
School taught me to read and write but had few attractions for me. A pity that, since I might have thrived under a decent education and saved myself the trouble of going the long away round to a sense of being educated.
Still, a life that was more ordered and purposeful might have deprived me of the chance to learn more about myself through the challenges of travel and the need to work in different areas.
I have been a teacher to Libyan soldiers, a ghost writer for an Indian guru and a freelance journalist in Belfast for the BBC and several newspapers.
My books reflect that diversity in my life. Much of my writing career coincided with the Northern Irish Troubles and I have written two books about that period, The Trouble With Guns - a critique of the IRA - and The Telling Year, a memoir of working as a journalist in the most violent year, 1972.
Two of my books address religion. I Was A Teenage Catholic recalls a Catholic upbringing and compares it to the years I spent in an Indian ashram. Empty Pulpits is a more analytical book about the decline of religion in Ireland.
More recently I have written about my father in Under His Roof. This was an effort to get to know and understand a difficult man. One thing I inherited from him was a love of cycling and that is the theme of my book, On My Own Two Wheels.
I have written some short fiction and my first novel is a self publishing venture on Kindle. Iscariot is a retelling of the life of Christ, in which he is two different people who are confused with each other, one a zealot revolutionary , the other quiet mystic.