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on 29 April 2014
A very good read, if your interested in this part of Irish history then I would recommend it.
To get a balance you need to read other material as the book though fair does bias it towards Tom Barry side of events.

A man it would be great to serve under.
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on 1 May 2011
A very good book about the life of Tom Barry, and the part he played in Irelands fight for Independence.
A fascinating read on how the people of West Cork supported the IRA's fight against the Crown forces sent to try and suppress the Irish people, to try and hang onto Ireland as part of the UK.
It is a must read book for anyone interested in Irish history, particularly their fight to become an independent country.
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on 31 January 2012
this lady meda ryan is a brilliant writer
her stuff is excellent,a must read for
anyone interested in the recent history
of ireland,well done again meda,have read
some of your other stuff,keep it coming
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on 27 August 2007
The great strength of this book is its criticism of the analysis and reporting of Peter Hart, who made controversial claims with regard to (a) the Kilmichael ambush of November 28 1920, and (b) the killing of loyalists in violation of a Truce amnesty in April 1922. Ryan's command of source material, and her access to Tom Barry's papers, suggested that Hart had made many claims that could not stand up to scrutiny. Ryan tends to be very careful in her approach, and does not conclude without evidence. A lesson for academic historians and for students of Irish history. A good companion volume, which examines how sophisticated British propaganda then continues to affect history writing, is Brian P Murphy's 'The Origin and Organisation of British Propaganda in Ireland in 1920'.
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on 15 October 2010
I purhased this book after reading Tom Barry's excellent Guerilla Days in Ireland. I found it a compelling read as Barry manages to capture relationships, incidents and historical chronology in an easy to understand style. Barry's memoirs were deliberately kept simple as he protected colleagues and struggled against the manipulation by British historians. Historians who wanted to portray the West Cork Brigade as cold blooded murderers while extolling the virtues of the Essex Regiment in particular and the Black and Tans in general. In doing so Barry left me with a desire to learn more...

Enter "Tom Barry: IRA Freedom Fighter". I recommend this book to everyone with an interest in this episode of Ireland's history. I enjoyed the book in equal measure for the author's documentry evidence which confirms Barry's story, and for revealing someone who even Michael Collins revered.
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on 22 January 2007
I enjoyed this read. His unpolished writing style complemented the book. Barry was a republican, a soldier, a leader and a killer. This is his story, how he saw it and felt about it when the book was first written - in the 1950's if I recall. it starts with his transformation from British soldier to Irish republican after 1916. Inclusion of expressions of self doubt after loosing men in combat I though brought a humanity to the story. Overly fair treatment of captured British soldiers reflects the naiveté and idealism that existed in the day. Equally his hatred for a particular regiment because of their brutality, tells the reader the behaviour was unacceptable to someone that had been their peer. It also exposes the inhuman side of conflict. I appreciated the brief inclusion of his experience during the civil was because its not particularly accurately reflected in Irish history books (at least it wasn't - I cannot speak for the current books).
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on 24 November 2013
A really interesting book about the begining times of the conflict , specially to scholars and also the book is in good contions
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on 28 September 2010
This book is a must read for anyone interested in Irish history. Brillently reserched and written
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on 6 July 2016
Great
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on 17 December 2006
The book is well written but one cant help but feel that the authors own republican sympathies prejudice her writing and prevent her from penning a real critical account of Barry.

Barrys fame emanates from an ambush conducted on open ground when over a dozen Britiish servicemen were killed some in questionable circumstances. No prisoners were taken and there is still a whiff of controversey which Ryan never explains about the treatment of prisoners.

There is no explanation either of why he sought to conduct an ambush on open ground, risking his men against much superior well armed, highly trained forces.

The rest of the Barry life consisted in seeking a 32 county republic while he gamely ignored the plight of his people who were condemened to migration in order to have a decent way of life.

Barry could never reconcile himself to the one million unionists in Northern Ireland and seemed dazzled by 32 county republic. That said he was a brave man and Ryan does cast some new light on his earlier life but in some respects Barry remains a mystery, the former British soldier who joined the other side to kill his former comrades.

His story could be seen as a metaphor for Irelands, the former British soldier now a republican stalwart whose life always harked back to his deeds at the Kilmichael ambush but whose own account of the battle is far from clear.
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