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Voices from the Grave: Two Men's War in Ireland [Paperback]

Ed Moloney
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
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Book Description

6 Jan 2011

Ed Moloney's A Secret History of the IRA is the best-informed account yet written of the IRA's evolution from ruthless guerrilla army into governmental party. But reconciliation between political figures who until very recently wished each other dead or in jail has not been accompanied by very much truth-telling about the past. Men who have been to the White House and hob-nobbed with Tony Blair deny that they ever fired a shot in anger, or caused a bomb to be planted.

Now, in a truly ground-breaking piece of historical evidence-gathering, two former paramilitary leaders - one republican, one loyalist - speak with unprecedented frankness about their role in some of the most appalling violence of the Troubles. Their openness results in a book of shocking and irresistible testimony, their voices set in the context of a narrative by Ed Moloney of their lives and of the society they grew up in.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (6 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571251692
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571251698
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Voices from the Grave is an original and revealing contribution to recent Irish history, the result of an ambitious oral history project overseen by Boston College ... (The) accounts are skilfully stitched together and given context by Ed Moloney's expert commentary. The structure is a triumph for it allows the men to speak for themselves about what drove them to commit their vile deeds ... Moloney's startling book, and the dogged work of Boston College, offer Northern Ireland help in finding the way back.' --Stephen Robinson, Sunday Times

'This candid analysis of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, as seen through the eyes of two men of violence, is full of revelations.' --Christopher Silvester, Express

'(A) hugely insightful oral history of the Troubles. ... Ed Moloney is a sensitive, expert editorial presence, providing consistent, non-judgmental historical context, and this is a brave and important book.' --Claire Allfree, Metro

Book Description

A sensational book exposing the truth about the war in Northern Ireland through two key testimonies.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two very interesting voices 28 April 2010
By Pablo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There's been a lot of press coverage and corresponding expectations connected to this book. I read a bit in both the Irish News and Belfast Telegraph and Tim Pat Coogan's review in the latter paper and what nobody seems to have done is write an expectation-free account of what the reader actually gets, so I'll try to do that here.
The first half of the book is devoted to material from interviews with the late IRA member Brendan Hughes and the second part to similar material from interviews with the late UVF member and later PUP politician David Ervine, both against a backdrop of Maloney's commentary which to his credit effectively gives the historical background without detracting from the voice of either protagonist.
Hughes' account provides graphic memories of growing up in sectarian inner-city Belfast with an abundance of telling detail. He provides wonderful details of the early provisionals in Belfast and detailed accounts of his own paramilitary activity. His accounts of Adams' involvement in the IRA confirm what everybody in N.Ireland already knows (and which Adams apparently doesn't admit for "legal" reasons). There are fascinating revelations on the people "disappeared" by the IRA where the story of Jean McConville is somehow outdone in terms of poignancy by that of Patrick Crawford: abandoned by his mother as a newborn, brought up in care and probably subjected to abuse, and then killed in prison at 22 by the IRA in a death dressed up as suicide. This section includes allegations of Adams having his own "personal squad" (Moloney) or "flying column" (Hughes). Hughes' narrative also gives a fascinating account of his escape from jail, inside details of divisions within the IRA and in-depth accounts of the hunger strikes and all that led up to them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth as seen by two participants 17 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating piece of recent history and of particular interest to anyone involved in the recent troubles in Ulster. The two participants are both now dead and seem to have unburdened themselves in the interviews and produced this revealing account of their involvement.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Voice that was denied when alive...... 2 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Anyone who has a basic understanding of Irish Republicanism will know who Brendan Hughes was. They will know that he was denied a voice while alive and is now confirming many rumours and stories from his grave.

The Dark was a down to earth man. He had no interest in money or power and this comes through in this interview and anyone who knew him can hear his voice in their head while reading his interviews.

The book is bulked out with some background information into what he is talking about and this is needed for those who know little or nothing of the situation in Ireland in the 70's or 80's. Some background is needed to afford the interviews some sense and meaning to those of us who did not live through the height of the war. This therefore makes the book accessible to all. Irish and non. Those of us who are older and the young alike.

I saw that someone wanted to see interviews with the RUC and Gerry Adams in this book. I feel they have missed the point of this book and have probably slept through the last 30 odd years to make such a request. The RUC are still covering up and denying what happened pre 1969 and Gerry Adams is not known for his love of the Dark. So much so that he claimed the Dark actually "apologised" to him when in fact the Dark was in a coma and unable to speak.

Mr Adams' comments on the day this book was published also confirm WHY he wasn't included. His "Well we all know the Dark was very ill when he gave those interviews" is the latest in a long line of attempts to discredit not only Brendan but anyone who disagrees with the almighty Gerry.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant 30 Aug 2011
By yerman
Format:Paperback
Great factual book that tells a true story of what really went on at this time, this story is told by a man that in many ways does not warrant much respect, but also there is a strong moral, message read carefully.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dead Men Do Tell Tales 23 Jun 2011
By F Henwood TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Irish journalist Ed Moloney has provided a fascinating account of the troubles seen from the perspective of two of the leading paramilitary participants, Brendan Hughes and David Irvine, from the Republican and Loyalist sides, respectively. Hughes was a leading military operative in the IRA throughout the 1970s but became a marginal figure from the 1980s onwards, while Irvine transcended his paramilitary UVF origins and metamorphosised to become a leading political figure in the peace process in the 1990s.

Two-thirds of the book tells the story from Hughes' point-of-view, the remainder from Irvine's. Both men are now dead, so their stories can be told.

Hughes is much more candid about his paramilitary past, hence his story is longer. He made no secret of his desire to shoot British soldiers as soon as possible, and this during the brief honeymoon between nationalists and the British army in 1969/70, when it was safe for British soldiers to drink in nationalist bars. Hughes himself drank with the very soldiers whom he was itching to shoot. But Hughes is less than candid regarding his role in the death of Jean McConville, the mother-of-ten, `disappeared' and executed by the IRA in 1972, reportedly for being a British informer. Hughes upholds the official Republican version and claimed a transmitter was found in her house but his evidence is hearsay and it was not clear if he was present at her arrest and interrogation or not. (p129) Perhaps Maloney missed an opportunity here to clarify this. Hughes has taken this secret to the grave.

Hughes considered himself a soldier, not a politician, contrasting himself with Gerry Adams, with whom he once had a close relationship.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
Best book on the troubles I have ready by far. Great insight into two fascinating people!
Would read it again.
Published 3 months ago by john moylan
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
These accounts really made me think. Brendan Hughes account was the better of the two as it was more revealing of the man. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Phil Aldis
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Having lived through this period in our history, I was thrilled by the unearthing of a new insight. When reading the first segment I found it hard to put the book down.
Published 3 months ago by Westawake
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding read
This book is a tremendous case study into how people can end-up involved in paramilitary organizations/insurgency. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Hydraargyrum
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
One of the best books I have read in a long time Would highly recommend it to any body Excellent
Published 3 months ago by Miss M. E. Kelly
3.0 out of 5 stars Voices from the grave
The David Irvine park is a bit stretched out with history of well known event's. But a good read and eye opening
Published 4 months ago by Nigel Gribbon
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting read
Really enjoyed it, well researched and unbiased. The two men were such interesting characters, and their backgrounds and impact on the troubles were presented clearly and in depth.
Published 5 months ago by Monito
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
If you are interested in the troubles then this is definitely worth buying. Brendan Hughes gives a believable account of his journey as well as David Irvine.
Published 8 months ago by Conor k
3.0 out of 5 stars ok
not bad 18 words to write now 14 now 12 now 9 now 7 now 5 now 3 now one
Published 13 months ago by geoff
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book
One of the best books on the troubles I have read.get to hear both sides of the conflict good book
Published 14 months ago by Eddie Mongan
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