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Brits: The War Against the IRA Paperback – 18 Feb 2002

4.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; New edition edition (18 Feb. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074755806X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747558064
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

A huge amount has been written about Northern Ireland and its troubles, but Brits is a valuable addition to the field, coming as it does from a reporter who has devoted to it so much of his working life. Peter Taylor, who has produced many fine BBC documentaries and a series of books on this difficult subject here details the more controversial incidents in the record of the security and intelligence agencies.

It has been a long and controversial record, with opinion still differing on whether the security forces could have dealt more effectively with groups such as the IRA. Bloody Sunday is here, and Gibraltar, and Loughgall and all the rest. Some incidents rocked the IRA to its foundations, such as the loss of seven of its men at Loughgall. Others, such as the SAS killings of three unarmed IRA members at Gibraltar, and the deaths of the 1981 hunger strikers, added potent new icons to the IRA's gallery of martyrs.

Taylor does a particular service by recording the observations of Michael Oatley, the MI6 man who established ultra-secret channels of communication with the IRA. Oatley's impression of Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness is fascinating:

I was considerably impressed by his intelligence and firmness of manner. It was rather like talking to a middle-ranking army officer in one of the tougher regiments like the Paras or the SAS.
Taylor is also good on the murkier side of intelligence operations, especially the penetration of loyalist assassination groups by security agents. Some of these, particularly Brian Nelson, rose to senior positions. This raises the question of whether elements in military intelligence aimed to break these organisations or, in some instances, sought to surreptitiously direct them against republican targets. Taylor sums this up with the judgement that the Nelson case raised disturbing questions about how far up the intelligence chain collusion between loyalists and the military went.--David McKittrick --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'As a means of understanding what has been going on in Ulster for the past thirty-two years, nothing better than these programmes has ever been made.' -- Chris Dunkley, Financial Times

'Taylor's series can be seen as the most comprehensive and important televisual record of the Troubles to date.' -- Will Self, Independent on Sunday --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Brits" gives you both the military and diplomatic developments of the Irish war from 1969 through to 2001 in chronological fashion. Peter Taylor manages to give the account from a British point of view yet without losing objectivity; to have empathy with the British predicaments and yet be critical where necessary. For example, we start by seeing young squaddies welcomed in nationalist Belfast and then see them a year or two later returning to bemused rejection. And then we have Taylor's clear yet detailed analysis of what caused the change: the debacle of internment in 1971, albeit with the British government playing a reluctant role; and of course the murders of Bloody Sunday. In his treatment of Bloody Sunday, Taylor teases out enough information to put the fact of a British cover-up beyond any doubt. But he also shows us the pain and anger of the British participants in accounts such as that of a survivor of the Warrenpoint attacks in which eighteen British soldiers were killed by the IRA (and an English tourist by the British army). His depiction of the evolution of British Intelligence activities is superb and manages to portray the bravery of the British operatives but also the shoot-to-kill operations and the dubious use of loyalist spy Brian Nelson. Throughout all this, Taylor weaves the thread of the behind-the-scenes negotiations between the British government and the republican movement in which all the major players are clearly drawn, and the complexities lucidly explained. An excellent account.
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Format: Hardcover
Identical in style both to Provos and Loyalists, Taylor has written a balanced and journalistic account of British Intelligence and Government policy; their soldiers and its politicians struggle against violent republicanism since the start of the current troubles.
Factual, frank accounts from mouths involved in some of the most secret operations and heinous crimes of the last 30 years merge well with an analysis of cause and effect which would do an emeritus historian proud.
If you enjoyed his two previous offerings in this genre, you'll love this. If you haven't read much about it and are looking for a highly readable jaunt in the mire of contemporary Irish politics, Taylor is most definitely your man.
Golden.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Peter Taylor's three books on the Northern Irish Troubles, "Provos", "Loyalists" and now "Brits", are must-reads for anyone wanting to understand what it's all about. Taylor never minces words about the enormity of some of the deeds committed, but he is also scrupulously fair, seeking to understand the motivations behind the players. As someone born and raised in Belfast, I found these books an eye-opener, and I found myself having to re-examine old attitudes and prejudices. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Another classic from peter Taylor superbly written and researched by a man who knows what he is writing about. a superb insight in to the British way of thinking by those who did the fighting during the troubles a wonderful companion to the other two parts of this trilogy of books "Provos" & "loyalists" a must have if you are interested in the troubles you will not find many better books than this buy it now with confidence this is one of those books that you geniunely will not be able to put down
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Format: Hardcover
Once again Peter Taylor has proved to be a master at portraying complex issues at the heart of the Irish Question in manner which is clear, concise and even handed and yet holds the readers attention like a classic thriller. If you, like so many of the British politicians Taylor describes, are unaware of the depth and complexities of the problems in Northern Ireland, this will be a valuable introduction to the British and Irish mindsets. For everyone else it will be an essential reference book.
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Format: Paperback
I could just echo the other comments given here, but to do so would miss the most important feature of the book (and this whole trilogy). Peter Taylor is a fine and impartial journalist, as evidenced by the balanced way he interviews, and his access to all levels of both sides. However, precisely because of this it is possible to see clearly the motley justification presented by an increasingly marginal and bloodthirsty IRA over the years. And that is ultimately the priceless value of these books.
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Book was for my husband as describe and arrived in time for Xmas
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting this book is quoted as a reference
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