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Phoenix: Policing The Shadows Paperback – 5 Jun 1997

4.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; New Ed edition (5 Jun. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340666358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340666357
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.9 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 474,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Jack Holland grew up in Belfast, in a mixed religion family. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and at the University of Essex.
Jack Holland's work has appeared in the Spectator, The Sunday Times, the New York Times and the London Irish Post among others.


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is not only believable, but it is loveable. Phoenix was certainly a unique man, who made friends easily and despatched the enemies with compassion and thought. Lets hope Susan Phoenix and Jack Holland write a sequel, I am sure there is more to tell.
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Format: Paperback
I love books on the northern ireland conflict which give details of names,operations etc,rather than spend too much time theorizing. This is why I thoroughly recommend this book. Ian Phoenix joined the northern ireland police,then the royal ulster constabulary (RUC) in 1970. The book details his life and career(obviously from only one point of view,as the book is based on his diary entries). There's a great wealth of paramilitary names,together with details of operations(ones where the security forces got things wrong as well as the successful ones. ) As a bonus,the book contains both the identities of the 7 man ARMY COUNCIL of the provisional irish republican army(PIRA), sometimes just referred to as the IRA,paramilitary anti british organization.and the organizational structure of the ira's general headquarters (GHQ). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and insightful book.
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By A Customer on 18 Sept. 2001
Format: Paperback
An extraordinary insight into the news stories from 20 years of The Troubles. Reading this book it was impossible not to be reminded of the names of various killers from news items I heard when I was growing up in NI. Other gems include a photo of a certain Gerald Adams Jr, then Commander of PIRA Northern Area, as a young man.
One can't help but wonder at the stupidity of putting all of a country's intelligence chiefs into one aircraft - not exactly tactical genius on display, and very surprising. The other surprise was that he was able to keep up the pretence to Jack Holland of being a hearing aid salesman for all those years! This is a very interesting book, of particular interest to people from NI, Ireland (the 6 counties/the North of Ireland &c, &c), or people from the UK with an interest in politics or history.
I am sure that policing is a lot duller and less fun without Detective Superintendant Ian Phoenix.
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Format: Paperback
It was refreshing to read an account of the "Troubles" from the point of view of one of the leading members of the Security Forces and for me, who has studied contemporary Irish History, it was especially interesting for an obviously passionate Irishman to put across his desire for the well being and security of his country before political dogma from either side. I hope that this book does much to restore the confidence of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and removes some of the unjustified tarnish which the RUC has suffered at the hands of those who would seek instability in the Province. Ian Phoenix, a blunt but principled man, was a sad loss to the security services and the manner of his death, as described in the latter pages of the book, remains a mystery and is an example of folly which I hope will not recur. A brilliant read and I well recommend it. It is also easy read and not easy to put down. It is a good insight into what the long suffering people of Northern Ireland have had to endure. Well done Jack and Susan.
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Format: Paperback
this book is written from the diaries of Ian Phoenix, a high ranking R.U.C. officer, the head of the counter-survellance unit, who was killed in the chinook helicopter crash in the Mull of Kintyre in 1994. Detective superintendant Phoenix had 25 years of assorted police / military experiance in Northern Ireland the vast majority of this involving the fight against terrorism. The book details how he rose through the ranks of the R.U.C. to be involved in the shadowy war against terrorism and of the restrictions, dangers, stresses and strain that this put on both himself, family, friends and colleages
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is probably the best book that I have read. I found it very hard to put down. This book gives a behind the scene look at how the Royal Ulster Constabulary Special Branch dealt with the troubles throughout the 1980's and early 1990's.
I shows the total dedication by individuals to ensure that people living in Northern Ireland no matter their religion,could do so as safely as possible.

This book takes you into the Phoenix family, from Ian Phoenix's military service, meeting his wife and settling down to raise a family in Northern Ireland during the troubles. Ian joins the then R.U.C and works his way through the ranks to superintendent. He joins the special branch and becomes one of their most valuable officers. Throughout his time in special branch, no one in his social circle knew he was a police officer.
Ian joined other expert for a short flight by Chinoock helicopter to Scotland for a high level intelligence conference. During the short flight the helicopter crashed on The Mull of kintyre killing all on board. This was a major set back in the fight against terrorism both in Northern Ireland and the mainland due to the number of deaths of very senior officers from police, military and other services.
Thank you Susan for writing this book and opening you heart and family to us the reader.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are two stories here, the human story of a family man and friend, and the story of a Special Branch officer who was fighting in what was a very dirty war.

I greatly enjoyed reading about the family life and friendships and I feel the book was well worth reading as a human story. Ian was by all accounts a good friend to friends and a source of pain and suffering to his enemies, this was what he got paid for. Fluffy bunnies don't inhabit the sharp end of any war effort.

The Special Branch part of the story was pieced together from diary entries of the officer, as such lacked the warts and all quality that would have provided a true picture of how the war was being fought. The first casualty of war is truth, and truth is always subjective and murky grey as opposed to black or white.

In reading his thoughts on strategy with regard to winning the military side of the war against the IRA he was prone to using the SAS to protect the police from any scrutiny that might arise out of dead terrorists, which I suppose he thought of as fair game. I would say that this policy was probably the best recruiting sergeant for the IRA at the time. Many people were killed who could have been arrested.

The book preempted and "brushed off" allegations of collusion between security forces and Loyalist/Republican terrorists. To have a book on the troubles without even one entry of concern about the Stevens Inquiries was unusual, given that Stevens concluded in 1990 that collusion was," neither wide-spread nor institutionalized."

The crash happened in 1994 so I would have thought that Ian would have had day to day meetings with Stevens's enquiry team members, yet it was never mentioned once in the book.
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