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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A victim of his era.
When I turned the first "virtual page" of my new Kindle, I was drawn into this sad, but, true story, of a man born in Victorian times in the hated tenements of inner-city Dublin. Live was filthy, overcrowded, disease-ridden, teeming with malnourished children. That made me think that already he was a victim of his era or you could comment that he was just a product of...
Published 21 months ago by Michael James Talbot

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read
An informative read and insight into one particular and relatively unheard story from a complicated period of history in Ireland.
Published 14 months ago by r olphert


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A victim of his era., 26 Mar 2013
By 
Michael James Talbot (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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When I turned the first "virtual page" of my new Kindle, I was drawn into this sad, but, true story, of a man born in Victorian times in the hated tenements of inner-city Dublin. Live was filthy, overcrowded, disease-ridden, teeming with malnourished children. That made me think that already he was a victim of his era or you could comment that he was just a product of that time. As he tried to raise above it all, he would be put down by life's hard knocks but he still tried to do the right thing. Rosie, the first love of his life, stayed in his memory until his dying day.Well researched, skilfully and sympathetically written by the author D.J. Kelly, you feel as though you were there with him throughout his life up to the last fateful moments. If you had an ancestor born in Dublin, or, who served in the British Army, or, even the Royal Irish Constabulary then this will interest you and grab your attention till the last page. I would recommended this very highly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really well researched book, 25 Jun 2013
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

It was obvious from the start that the author had researched every aspect in writing it,
from life in areas of Dublin and South London to what it was like for soldiers in India at
the turn of the century.
It covered various points of Irish history I was not aware of, which I found very interesting.

A thoroughly enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story of an ordinary man in difficult times, 4 Oct 2014
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An excellent story of the the life and times of William Mitchell and the people he meets through his life as a young man. From growing up in Dublin, the families move to Bermondsey, London. and his life of petty crime. Follow his adventures as a soldier in India that ended in a dishonourable discharge. He enlists as a soldier to fight in World War, taking part in the Battle of the Somme. On his return to England where he met his future wife whom he fooled into believing he was wealthier than he was by engaging in criminal activity. Under pressure by his wife he decided to earn an honest living and applied for the job of temporary policeman with the Royal Irish Constabulary. As I understand, many of the Black and Tans, of English and Irish origin, as they were known were former soldiers hewed from the trench warfare of the first World War. Their treatment of prisoners at the time of the Anglo-Irish war (the 'Tan' war) in 1920 was brutal. William 'Mitch' Mitchell was found guilty of the murder of a magistrate and was hung for his alleged deeds. DJ Kelly's narrative had me hooked. This book, should you have an interest in historical fact should appeal to you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, 29 Sep 2013
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An informative read and insight into one particular and relatively unheard story from a complicated period of history in Ireland.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very human pawn, 6 May 2013
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A flashback tale from the condemned cell, this is a quietly gripping account of the life of man who has no particular heroism about him, who cheerfully makes the best of the very limited choices life offers him, from the slums of 'Monto' in North Dublin, and of Bermondsey, then to India of the Raj, the Western Front, and a final ill-fated return to Dublin. Historical byways abound here - you will discover that some Irish Protestants enjoyed no 'ascendancy' but were as poor as the Catholics, why the hookers dreaded the Lock hospital so deeply, why the mixed race Anglo Indian families were so happy if a British soldier took up with one of their girls. The research is deep and convincing, the descriptions of marginalised people getting on with life as they best they can, are unsentimental, humorous and very human. All the characters are deftly rounded. In both her books, the author has a particular gift for describing life in male communities of workers or soldiers (though there is some reliance on well known tales of the 'bucket of steam' variety). The cleverest thing about her writing is the detachment she keeps from her main protagonists, so, whilst remaining sympathetic and interested in them, we are never 100% sure whether they 'did it' or not. Here I feel that ultimately William Mitchell is a pawn in the 'great game' of history, yet still a very human figure.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who were the black and tans?, 20 April 2013
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This review is from: Running with Crows - The Life and Death of a Black and Tan (Paperback)
I bought this book having read 'A Wistful Eye' by the same author. I had heard of the black and tans but had never really asked about who they were and had always thought they were an unauthorised group of vigilantes in Ireland. Reading this book taught me a lot about conditions in Ireland but at the same time presented a sympathetic view of how a person raised in poverty could unwittingly become involved in petty crime and end up charged with a capital offence. It follows the life of a boy raised in the slums of Dublin and Bermondsey through his career in the Army in India and the first world war to his final job in the Royal Irish Constabulary. Having previously read Roy Farran's 'Winged Dagger' (uncensored 1945 edition) and also Len Deighton's 'Winter' I found certain similarities: The former on how the British Govt. placed ex military personnel in positions for which their training was unsuited, (perhaps they still do - using young soldiers to 'police' troubled areas? and in the latter book I could not help making comparisons on how someone could become a member of what is now seen as an 'evil' organisation.)

The research into the 16th Lancers was also of impressive, (I assume it was researched!) and the subject's period of service with the Royal West Sussex reg in India was also of special interest to me, I would have liked more on both! Perhaps I will get that in the author's next book?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful read, 16 Jan 2014
By 
R. Howe "Robert Fraser-Howe" (Cheshire UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Great story, beautifully and intelligently written. I couldn't put it down and look forward to reading DJ Kelly's other books.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 8 May 2013
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This review is from: Running with Crows - The Life and Death of a Black and Tan (Paperback)
This is a well researched book which describes the era very vividly. I was drawn into the lives of the characters and although knowing the outcome at the start it didn't deter from the drama of the story. It went at a cracking pace and was unputdownable- a sign for me of a good book. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest or love of Irish history.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fiction and History in partnership, 6 April 2013
This review is from: Running with Crows - The Life and Death of a Black and Tan (Paperback)
D.J.Kelly, who wrote "A Wistful Eye" has yet again conjured up the past and turned it into an intriguing novel. This story, at times harrowing, is about the only Black and Tan to be hanged for murder during the beginnings of the Irish uprising. The story traces the history of "Mitch" from his early days in an impoverished Ireland, through the grim trench warfare that was WW1. One is made to feel that, during the horrors of the First World War, the enemy was not the Germans but the cruelty, indifference and ignorant abuse of power that existed within the allied ranks. "Mitch" survives the war but is ultimately defeated by the corruption of those military leaders and politicians in England during the birth of the "troubles" in Ireland at the beginning of the last century. This story is crammed with historical details and vivid descriptions of life as it really was at the time. Be prepared to be intrigued, amused and sometimes horrified at how easily injustice can take over when political expediency is put before human values. An excellent and totally engaging read!

Richard W.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story...., 3 Nov 2013
By 
jaffareadstoo (England) - See all my reviews
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This is a well written research based historical narrative which reflects the true story of William Mitchell. The author has invested a great deal of time and energy in recounting his story, and it is to be commended that the sympathetic and skilful management of the facts ensures that the spirit of William Mitchell and his chequered life is opened up to scrutiny. The interesting interpretation of political events and the strategic placing of these events into a contextual historical setting could have become rather a bleak read, but far from depressing, the story abounds with an energy and gusto which is rather refreshing. I began to really like Mitchell, who although deeply flawed, showed an amazing resilience, and I must admit to wiping away a little tear at the ending, which I hoped could have been different.

The overall professional quality of the novel is good. I found the cover appealing, and the inclusion in the epilogue, of a "what happened next" to some of the characters is a nice way to finish. I have no hesitation in recommending this very human approach to history.

I reviewed this novel for the Historical Novel Society as a UK Indie Reviewer
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Running with Crows - The Life and Death of a Black and Tan
Running with Crows - The Life and Death of a Black and Tan by D. J. Kelly (Paperback - 3 Feb 2013)
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