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Voices from the Grave: Two Men's War in Ireland Paperback – 6 Jan 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (6 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571251692
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571251698
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 3.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 134,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Voices from the Grave is an original and revealing contribution to recent Irish history, the result of an ambitious oral history project overseen by Boston College ... (The) accounts are skilfully stitched together and given context by Ed Moloney's expert commentary. The structure is a triumph for it allows the men to speak for themselves about what drove them to commit their vile deeds ... Moloney's startling book, and the dogged work of Boston College, offer Northern Ireland help in finding the way back.' --Stephen Robinson, Sunday Times

'This candid analysis of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, as seen through the eyes of two men of violence, is full of revelations.' --Christopher Silvester, Express

'(A) hugely insightful oral history of the Troubles. ... Ed Moloney is a sensitive, expert editorial presence, providing consistent, non-judgmental historical context, and this is a brave and important book.' --Claire Allfree, Metro

Book Description

Voices from the Grave by Ed Moloney is a sensational book exposing the truth about the war in Northern Ireland through two key testimonies.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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There's been a lot of press coverage and corresponding expectations connected to this book. I read a bit in both the Irish News and Belfast Telegraph and Tim Pat Coogan's review in the latter paper and what nobody seems to have done is write an expectation-free account of what the reader actually gets, so I'll try to do that here.
The first half of the book is devoted to material from interviews with the late IRA member Brendan Hughes and the second part to similar material from interviews with the late UVF member and later PUP politician David Ervine, both against a backdrop of Maloney's commentary which to his credit effectively gives the historical background without detracting from the voice of either protagonist.
Hughes' account provides graphic memories of growing up in sectarian inner-city Belfast with an abundance of telling detail. He provides wonderful details of the early provisionals in Belfast and detailed accounts of his own paramilitary activity. His accounts of Adams' involvement in the IRA confirm what everybody in N.Ireland already knows (and which Adams apparently doesn't admit for "legal" reasons). There are fascinating revelations on the people "disappeared" by the IRA where the story of Jean McConville is somehow outdone in terms of poignancy by that of Patrick Crawford: abandoned by his mother as a newborn, brought up in care and probably subjected to abuse, and then killed in prison at 22 by the IRA in a death dressed up as suicide. This section includes allegations of Adams having his own "personal squad" (Moloney) or "flying column" (Hughes). Hughes' narrative also gives a fascinating account of his escape from jail, inside details of divisions within the IRA and in-depth accounts of the hunger strikes and all that led up to them.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone who has a basic understanding of Irish Republicanism will know who Brendan Hughes was. They will know that he was denied a voice while alive and is now confirming many rumours and stories from his grave.

The Dark was a down to earth man. He had no interest in money or power and this comes through in this interview and anyone who knew him can hear his voice in their head while reading his interviews.

The book is bulked out with some background information into what he is talking about and this is needed for those who know little or nothing of the situation in Ireland in the 70's or 80's. Some background is needed to afford the interviews some sense and meaning to those of us who did not live through the height of the war. This therefore makes the book accessible to all. Irish and non. Those of us who are older and the young alike.

I saw that someone wanted to see interviews with the RUC and Gerry Adams in this book. I feel they have missed the point of this book and have probably slept through the last 30 odd years to make such a request. The RUC are still covering up and denying what happened pre 1969 and Gerry Adams is not known for his love of the Dark. So much so that he claimed the Dark actually "apologised" to him when in fact the Dark was in a coma and unable to speak.

Mr Adams' comments on the day this book was published also confirm WHY he wasn't included. His "Well we all know the Dark was very ill when he gave those interviews" is the latest in a long line of attempts to discredit not only Brendan but anyone who disagrees with the almighty Gerry.
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By F Henwood TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 23 Jun. 2011
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Irish journalist Ed Moloney has provided a fascinating account of the troubles seen from the perspective of two of the leading paramilitary participants, Brendan Hughes and David Irvine, from the Republican and Loyalist sides, respectively. Hughes was a leading military operative in the IRA throughout the 1970s but became a marginal figure from the 1980s onwards, while Irvine transcended his paramilitary UVF origins and metamorphosised to become a leading political figure in the peace process in the 1990s.

Two-thirds of the book tells the story from Hughes' point-of-view, the remainder from Irvine's. Both men are now dead, so their stories can be told.

Hughes is much more candid about his paramilitary past, hence his story is longer. He made no secret of his desire to shoot British soldiers as soon as possible, and this during the brief honeymoon between nationalists and the British army in 1969/70, when it was safe for British soldiers to drink in nationalist bars. Hughes himself drank with the very soldiers whom he was itching to shoot. But Hughes is less than candid regarding his role in the death of Jean McConville, the mother-of-ten, `disappeared' and executed by the IRA in 1972, reportedly for being a British informer. Hughes upholds the official Republican version and claimed a transmitter was found in her house but his evidence is hearsay and it was not clear if he was present at her arrest and interrogation or not. (p129) Perhaps Maloney missed an opportunity here to clarify this. Hughes has taken this secret to the grave.

Hughes considered himself a soldier, not a politician, contrasting himself with Gerry Adams, with whom he once had a close relationship.
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