As a 70's child living in England, the troubles in Ireland were something that you were aware of, but unless you were living in London, then they didnt seem to represent an intimate threat to your existence. It wasnt until i had visited my sister in Brighton and saw the damage done by the bombing there, that you kind of got a sense, that no where was perhaps untouchable by this group of people. Step forward to the present though, and thanks to catastrophic errors by this government, the threat of terroism has never been greater. The face of terror may have changed but never its personality.
Reading Kevin Myers book provides an intimate portrayal of the effect that conflict has on individual lives. Lives that were often cut short too soon, leaving many families destroyed forever. Indeed, it is this sense of loss which makes his book for such compelling reading. Who was it that said, 'the first casualty of war, is the loss of innocence'. This is so true, especially his accounts of a family that was wiped out by an IRA car crash.
Like a lot of people i am sure, unless you were there, then the knowledge of what was happening across the shores was limited at best, though as Myers highlights from his own account, you could be there, but still not fully understand the complexity of the situation.
As a novice to the troubles in Ireland, Myers book lends a hand to this lack of knowledge (Loyalists? Who were they?) and reminding you that on all sides of the conflict were there some decent people. Myers book though does have light hearted moments concerning his accounts of his sexual exploits, and some serious drinking in the process. One question though Kevin. How come your liver hasnt gone the way of George Best?
It certainly made for a refreshing read away from some biography by a Z list celebrity, which are in no short supply of these days, and seem to pollute the book shelves at the moment.