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.