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on 23 January 2001
Probably the best known leader of the IRA flying Columns during the Irish war of independence was Commandant General Tom Barry of the 3rd (West) Cork Brigade Flying Column. Two of the most famous actions led by Barry, Kilmichael on 28 November 1920 and Crossbarry, 19 March 1921 proved the might of the flying column. At Crossbarry, Barry and about 100 men, overcame a British transport ten times as large, inflicting heavy casualties during a day-long engagement. The Kilmichael ambush, in which 16 Auxiliary British soldiers died, escalated Crown retaliation which peaked with the burning of Cork City (11 December 1920). An excellent recounting of these and other events from 1916 to 1921
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on 14 January 2007
This book is remarkable. Having read military books for years I never realised one of the best publications was set around my own county. I read this cover-to-cover in about 3 days and many friends/family have similar praise for it.

Barry's writing style is fast paced, modest to a fault and technically superb - Highly recommended as a military book, essential reading for those of us with an interest in the historic Republican fight.
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on 3 April 2012
Heck of a tale and very well told, this book is definitely worth a read. As to the accuracy, I'm no scholar of Irish history so I don't know. I take it for what it is, the story that one of the main protaganists of this war wanted us to hear. Just like Churchill's diaries are his version of WW2. Top notch, get yourself a copy.
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on 31 July 2014
I found this to be an excellent account of the situation in Ireland during the War of Independence.The fact that roughly 3000 Volunteers took on the might of the British Empire and eventually forced them out of Ireland is incredible.In September 2014 Scotland will vote for Independence by simply putting an"x" in the appropriate box at a Polling Station.The men and women who took up arms against the British in the 1920s did not have this option and had to fight and die for their independence.We should think ourselves lucky that we do not have to take up arms any more.All in all an excellent read.
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on 29 October 2014
A marvellous account of our troubles in County Cork during Ireland’s fight for freedom. British history tends to ignore this conflict that happened on your own doorstep and it’s accounts like this by Tom Barry, a veteran of the fighting, that brings it all home to you. A must read book for anybody interested in ’true’ history !
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on 11 September 2014
Having recently been on holiday to Dunmanway, in beautiful County Cork and having my interest and curiosity heightened by a visit to the memorial to the Kilmichael Ambush and reading on the excellent narrative around the newly established landscaped area, it was time to read Tom Barry's engrossing account of a war of which we have all heard but has always been subject to, what I have always believed to be, somewhat biased British propaganda.

The true nature of the struggle by honest and decent Irish folk against the tyranny of the Auxiliaries, Black and Tans and some regiments of the British Army in those days is told here by a man of true conviction.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the fight for the Irish Republic and the later consequences of "The Troubles", this book, although it is, in places, relatively hard going and somewhat repetitive, is a MUST READ as it is written with true passion and honesty and shines a much needed light on the real causes of conflict and mistrust and puts into perspective just how difficult it is/was to glean the truth from Ireland's tragic history. I am no apologist for terrorism, however please read this book with a totally open mind, then analyse and revisit your own prejudices.
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on 12 April 2011
"Keep firing on them. Keep firing, No. 2 Section. Everybody keep firing until the Cease Fire!"

This sharp, short order resounded out over the lonely rugged fields of West Cork and over the bleak, desolate roadside near the village of Kilmichael. On that cold winters day in 1920, the tranquilly of the Irish countryside was shattered as the sounds of close quarter combat stung the air. Members of the elite Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary (ADRIC) and the volunteers of IRA's Third (West) Cork Brigade's `Flying Column' were locked in a battle to the death.

In charge of the newly formed column that day in 1920, was 23-year-old Tom Barry, a First World War veteran. This book charts the nine-month period between October 1920 and July 1921, when he was the Commandant of the West Cork Brigade Flying Column.

In the book Barry describes some of the most famous military actions in west Cork during the War of Independence. The Kilmichael and Crossbarry engagements are described in detail; in the latter Barry managed to fight his way out of encircling force of over 1,200 enemy troops. Other less known actions and events are described to, the Toureen Ambush, the execution of spies, the Battle of Burgatia House, and the daring escape from encirclement when the Flying Column trekked the treacherous boggy mountainous land, near the Cork/Kerry border of Gougane Barra.

The book is fast paced and Barry has likeable straightforward writing style. I found it hard to put it down when I started; it's a real page-turner. I have since read it twice more and enjoyed it just as much as the first time. I would recommend this book for anybody with an interest in the 1916-1923 period in Irish history, in military history generally, or in local West Cork history.

For those interested in the 1916-1923 period, I'd also recommend `On Another Man's Wound' by Ernie O'Malley and `My Fight for Irish Freedom' by Dan Breen.
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on 15 November 2011
But I shan't spoil it for you!

Tom Barry was a young man living in most dangerous times. He tells his story in the manner in which he fought, without malice and bitterness, and does not seek to glorify himself at the expense of others.

Much Irish history of the period focuses on De Valera/Collins, but the struggle in the West, which was bitter, hard-fought and incredibly violent, must never be forgotten.

Thankfully, this marvellous book ensures it shall not be.
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on 10 March 2011
This book is a cracking read, and at the time of writing I'm only half way thru the book.
It is a fascinating account of the part the IRA played in the Irish fight for independence.
Tom Barry was a legendary member of the West Cork IRA.
The book recalls the guerilla war the IRA engaged in against the Crown Forces ( the British army, the Auxilaries and the fearsome Black & Tans ).
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about the Irish struggle for Independence.
Michael Collins- the biography by Tim Pat Coogan is another book I would recommend as really good read.
And, for anyone who wants to know what it was like serving as a British serviceman during the Irish war of Independence, I recommend the book, British Voices by William Sheenan.
Another book worth reading is Michael Collins and the Troubles by Ulick O' Connor.
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on 26 January 2013
Brilliant book written by the legend himself Tom Barry. He is a very down to earth, realistic man and this is reflected in his book, he is often critical of himself while constantly praising his men of the collumn. Interesting insight into a man who was actually there, and gives you a good feeling of IRA operations in Cork. Also mentions when he met Collins and De Valera, where he just honestly says what his own first impressions were.

Great man, great book, very interesting and entertaining read.
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