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3.0 out of 5 stars The Rise and Rise of Gerry Adams, 18 Jan 2014
This review is from: A Secret History of the IRA (Paperback)
I'm sure it's difficult writing a book about the IRA that isn't going to raise hackles on one side or the other and in general, Ed Moloney does a pretty good job; I'm slightly mystified as to why one reviewer sees this as 'anti-IRA' - it's really 'anti-the opponents of Gerry Adams.'

It's a pretty balanced summary but I'm giving it three stars because it is (as I note above) a history of the armed struggle from the perspective of the Gerry Adams camp, with very little input from others. I'm sure this is a reflection of the reality that the author was trying very hard to stay on the right side of his contacts but it makes it less useful as an even handed account. My specific criticisms;

- I don't agree with the author's contention that Gerry Adams had a thirty year plan for steering the Republican movement away from violence; it seems far more likely that he had a long term plan for putting Gerry Adams in charge of PIRA (The Provisional IRA) and used whatever means or policies came to hand;

- The British authorities were well aware that both Adams and his right hand man, Martin McGuniness, were long term members of the PIRA Army Council, rather than being hopelessly duped all the way along by their public statements that they were simply members of Sinn Fein - I don't know why Moloney feels the need to categorize the British government as ignorant of this (in reality, British Army Intelligence had the whole PIRA membership laid out in exhaustive detail);

- It's irritating that Moloney devotes his entire first chapter to the Eksund arms shipment from Libya which was betrayed, with disastrous consequences for the proposed PIRA 1988 offensive and helped illustrate the reality that armed struggle was a dead end but doesn't really discuss who did it (probably because he thinks someone from the Adams' camp was responsible);

- He understates the contribution of the Eire security authorities to the dismantling of the PIRA structure in the South, why this was so and the impact on the PIRA; and

- There is very little, if any, mention of the degeneration of significant elements of the PIRA organization into criminal activity, which changed their public image from being protectors and freedom fighters into drug smugglers.

Finally (and maybe it's just me), I find his use of the words 'successful action' re the Deal bombing of 1989 which killed 11 unarmed trainee band players simply wrong.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 May 2014 17:33:51 BDT
Two tone,
You're right that the British intelligence agencies probably knew more about the IRA than Gerry Adams did-the avalanche of disclosures about British moles high up in both the IRA and Sinn Fein makes this clear.
as for the other non-Adamsite views-Maloney makes it clear they were marginalized,sidelined and/or went off into oblivion.Isn't it the cliche that history is written by the winners?
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