Customer Reviews


 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very comprehensive, without being heavy going
As someone who bought this book to learn more about the diplomacy behind the northern ireland agreement, I found it both comprehensive and easy to understand. Jonathan Powell delievers a very unbiased account, with some interesting insights into what a massive uphill struggle conflict resolution is. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in british or irish politics,...
Published on 15 April 2008 by J. K. Groves

versus
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Vital Read for Students of Modern Political History
This is a very interesting book containing insider information about the laborious and complex negotiations that brought peace and stability to Northern Ireland after years of conflict. Written by Jonathon Powell, Tony Blair's Chief of Staff throughout his period as Prime Minister, the author had a pivotal role within the peace negotiations and saw and heard things that...
Published on 13 May 2009 by B. Williams


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very comprehensive, without being heavy going, 15 April 2008
As someone who bought this book to learn more about the diplomacy behind the northern ireland agreement, I found it both comprehensive and easy to understand. Jonathan Powell delievers a very unbiased account, with some interesting insights into what a massive uphill struggle conflict resolution is. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in british or irish politics, whether you are an academic or a layman like me!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Insight into the Peace Process, 23 Jun. 2008
By 
Brian Hostad (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a very simple book, a narrative history from 1997 to 2007 of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland as seen from the perspective of the British goverment and specifically Powell as Blair's Chief of Staff and chief organiser. The book rattles along covering events more or less as they occur. It's full of last minute meetings, late night telephone calls and exasperation at the changing demands of the parties.

The one problem is that it is so close to the events there is not enough chance for measured reflection. Most of the participants are still involved in politics and I sense that Powell is careful in his comments about people, never daring to be too critical. Infact there is all too little reflection generally, with Powell just narrating events as they happen. It misses periodic pauses to reflect and assess progress and issues. Although he touches on parallels with other conflicts it would have been interesting to develop this more and it would have been interesting to discuss whether the peace process has finally been concluded or whether there are still potential pitfalls to come.

Despite these drawbacks it's an interesting read, and Powell keeps up the pace nicely. He gives a great sense of what these negoiations are and what an exhausting and frustrating process it is. It's well worth a read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Vital Read for Students of Modern Political History, 13 May 2009
By 
B. Williams "Ben Williams" (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland (Paperback)
This is a very interesting book containing insider information about the laborious and complex negotiations that brought peace and stability to Northern Ireland after years of conflict. Written by Jonathon Powell, Tony Blair's Chief of Staff throughout his period as Prime Minister, the author had a pivotal role within the peace negotiations and saw and heard things that few others will have witnessed. The book is written in an engaging and interesting style, and Powell clearly has cordial and constructive relations with some controversial figures, particularly Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. The friendly camaraderie often evident in his exchanges with Sinn Fein leaders in particular has caused some concern to unionist commentators in particular. Powell however always emphasises the even-handed approach of the British government, even if the rival sides did not always see it that way. Powell has used his role to provide some previously unknown information such as the existence of a secret channel of communication between the ostensibly hostile groups, Sinn Fein and the DUP. This book is a vital read to any serious student of modern political history and of the Northern Ireland problem.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unenlightening and dull, 3 April 2009
By 
H. S. Lee (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I'm prompted to write this review having been staggered at the other reviews. I was so disappointed reading this book. Powell spent years working closely with all the major figures in Irish politics yet we learn nothing of them from his book. All the interesting parts of the book were published in the Guardian. My recommendation, don't bother.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars achieving the impossible, 28 April 2012
By 
markr - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Jonathan Powell was Tony Blair's Chief of Staff and chief negotiator during the period from 1997 to 2007, and was heavily involved in the negotiations which inch by inch led to power sharing and peace in Northern Ireland. This book is an interesting account of the huge difficulties which had to be overcome to reconcile people who were starting from a position of complete mistrust and mutual loathing. The events are narrated more or less chronologically, with a fair amount of detail about the false dawns, and incremental steps, which happened along the way. Powell's account makes clear that peace came because of the courage of key people, in positions of power and influence at the same time, who were willing to take political and personal risks to achieving something better.

Sometimes the detailed accounts come so thick and fast that it is hard to keep the bigger picture in focus - probably a little like being involved in the processes themselves, but nonetheless a good read, which gives greater understanding of the difficulties which had to be overcome, and the achievements of those involved in persisting when it seemed impossible

Recommended
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and present diplomacy, 16 May 2008
By 
Michael Watson "skirrow22" (Halifax, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
I don't think I would have bought this book but when it was given to me as a present (!) I peeked into it, thinking I'd probably take as long to read it as did the eventual outcome of the peace process.

Not at all. Although the actual process is tedious, the author manages to provide a very readable account of the long and laborious road that seems of necessity to be the only way of settling an horrendous problem.

Recommended if you want to learn a lot at very little cost to your temperament!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars I'm sure this is the one to read on Blair's finalisation of N Ireland peace process, 8 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland (Paperback)
I'm sure this is the one to read on the finalising of the N Ireland peace process as started by Major & settled by Blair (obviously mainly about the Labour contribution) by the man who was actually on the job. Not exactly an enjoyable read but pleasantly told, well written & an important book. I know his brother Charles, since 1987, Mrs Thatcher's private secretary. I think what came across was how focussed the participants were facing hiccup after hiccup & just how important achieving a result was to everyone - it must not fail this time! I also read last year The New Machiavelli which was a different writing style, more philosophical but I didn't like it quite so much.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Behind the Curtain, 7 May 2008
By 
Robert Horn (Victoria, BC, Canada) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The settlement of Northern Ireland's grinding conflict owes a lot to demographics; the old protagonists on both sides were tired and looking for a way out before the new generation took over. However it did take a new approach from the British and Irish governments to shift the logjam. Powell's book is well-written and drags laboriously through meeting after meeting that ended in failure as promises made in private were repudiated in public. He leaves many questions unanswered such as the secret information he was getting from inside the IRA that must have helped him evaluate what he was hearing from Adams and McGuinness. The different styles of the blunt but obdurate Unionists and ambiguous, articulate Republicans is fascinating. Powell drops frequent hints that he would like to take his undoubted skills to other areas of conflict but it was his innate understanding of the psychology of the British tribes that made him so effective as a negotiator. Human conflicts can only be resolved by understanding that the enemy is fundamentally acting in good faith. This is a very good book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting account behind the scenes of the peace process in Northern Ireland, 31 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland (Paperback)
A riveting account of the exhausting and frustrating behind the scenes peace progress in Northern Ireland with excellent chapters on the history leading up to this momentous time in the history of Northern Ireland.

Perhaps what makes this account so interesting is that this account is from the perspective of a Civil Servant and not a politician, well worth a read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars good insiders story, 28 Sept. 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Fascinating account of an important period in our history. I grew up during The a Troubles and this was a great eye-opener into what went on, the wheeling and dealing, the delays , brinkmanship and, ultimately, of the preserver emcee of many on all sides.

Only criticism was the interminable diary-like entries without sufficient context.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland
Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace in Northern Ireland by Jonathan Powell (Paperback - 2 April 2009)
£9.98
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews