Most helpful positive review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A great, impartial read for anyone who wants a closer look at modern N.Irish history
on 11 August 2013
Any book written on Northern Ireland's recent conflict will be accused of bias, but any such accusation against this book is wholly unfounded.
This book takes you right through the IRA's history, from the early 20th right up to the early 21st century. The author, Richard English, is probably the world's foremost authority on the subject.
If you are looking for a book that will endlessly glorify or demonise the IRA, this is not for you. The author leaves the job of forming opinions on morality up to you whilst he dispenses facts in great storytelling rhetoric. I have seen lectures given by the author; on a personal level he is deeply opposed to the IRA, but you would not be able to tell that from this book. He remains a historian and spares you his opinion.
I had a fair knowledge of the IRA before reading this and I imagine someone completely unfamiliar with Northern Ireland's history might be a bit overwhelmed with the detail that the book goes into. Similarly, if you're only interested in "The Troubles" rather than all the history behind it you would do well to skip ahead a few chapters.
The author has sought out and interviewed many IRA members, giving him a knowledge of how the IRA was 'on the ground' that a lot of high level political books like this miss out. If you are from Ireland / Northern Ireland, this book will teach you a lot about the history that created the circumstance our country is currently in.