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Nothing But an Unfinished Song: The Life and Times of Bobby Sands Paperback – 8 Dec 2006
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The life of a truly remarkable young man: Bobby Sands ... how he grew from a plucky lad into a deeply committed, sensitive, anti-imperialist revolutionary, and how he, in turn, transformed the Nationalist Movement into a deeper, broader one. ... The life of Bobby Sands shows development, growth, maturation, and a profoundly humanistic internationalist flavor, in the midst of a bitter, ugly struggle that can purge the humanity out of anyone. The work also presents us with a picture not merely of the armed combatant, but of his love of music, and stories, and how he used these gifts to lift the spirits of his mates in the darkest of days. Nothing But An Unfinished Song is the story of how Irish nationalists battled British occupation, sectarian violence, and broken spirits. It has a message that will find interest everywhere. (Mumia Abu-Jamal)
Denis O'Hearn in his gripping, heart stopping, exhilarating sometimes sad book, Bobby Sands, tells an extraordinary story of life, love and noble death...A grand and inspiring book by a grand and inspiring writer. (Malachy McCourt)
Bobby Sands, as this magnificent biography reminds us, was a hero for the whole world and yet broad Belfast to the core. We cried when he died, but he laughed in the face of tyranny and taught us the deepest meaning of comradeship. (Mike Davis)
An excellent book. It tells not just the story of Bobby, the prison protest and hunger strikes but accurately captures the atmosphere of the prison. Friends and comrades of Bobby tell of the person they knew -- [so Bobby is] alive and vibrant on every page. Most importantly, the book traces the development of a very ordinary, politically naive boy from a working class background on the outskirts of Belfast to the highly politicised, articulate, prolific, competent revolutionary that he became in later years. (Dr Laurence McKeown, former IRA prisoner who joined the hunger strike led by Bobby Sands. He is an author and playwright and Research Coordinator with Coiste na nIarchimi, the republican ex-prisoners’ network in Ireland.) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
The inside story of the modern IRA's most revered figure: Bobby SandsSee all Product description
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I shared a prison wing with Bobby for nine months in 1979. Later I joined the hunger strike that he had just died on. I approached Denis O'Hearn's biography of Bobby therefore with a little trepidation. I should not have been concerned. It is an excellent book. It tells not just the story of Bobby, the prison protest and hunger strikes but accurately captures the atmosphere of the prison - the good times and bad, the hopes and despair, the pain, the joy and the totally selfless love that is rarely witnessed between a group of males. The strength of the book is that O'Hearn does not attempt to tell what he thinks happened behind prison walls (as other academics have) or to interpret events within his own ideological paradigm. Instead he facilitates others - friends, associates and comrades of Bobby - to tell of the person they knew and allows that person to become alive and vibrant on every page.
Most importantly, the book traces the development of a very ordinary, young, politically naive, high-spirited boy from a working class background on the outskirts of Belfast to the highly politicised, articulate, prolific, competent revolutionary that he became in later years. In this way O'Hearn informs a new generation of political activists in Ireland and elsewhere that they too can become a 'Bobby Sands' but hopefully never have to make the life and death decisions that he was faced with.
This year, the 25th anniversary of the hunger strike, it is timely for this biography to appear. It demonstrates the global interest that is retained in events that happened over a period of 217 days in 1981 when ten men died one after the other in prison cells in a struggle to be treated as the political prisoners they were. No wonder that states tremble before the power of such an idea that cannot be conquered, quenched, bought off or tortured into submission. No wonder that from the lips of oppressed peoples around the world the name, Bobby Sands, is uttered with such fondness and admiration.
Denis O'Hearn has put this to rights with a meticulously researched account of Sands' short life that included community and military activism and a harrowing journey through a gruelling and oppressive prison system. Through sheer bloody-mindedness, mental and physical resolve, and the capacity to recognise 'opportunities' in the most brutal forms of detention, Sands changed the trajectory of Irish politics. O'Hearn reveals a character full of ceaseless energy, buoyancy, sensitvity as well as political vision in a brisk, gripping and deeply moving account of Sands' life.
While providing a full and informative account of the early days of the 'troubles' in Ireland, this book also challenges complacency, urges activisim and rejects thinking within the narrow confines of mainstream political discourse. Bobby Sands, the activist, has been revealed to a new generation and renewed to those who grew up in that period of immense change.
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