The Irish Troubles: A Generation of Violence 1967-1992

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9780312088279: The Irish Troubles: A Generation of Violence 1967-1992

Almost without interruption during the past quarter century, the bloodshed in Northern Ireland has generated hard news, more often than not involving extravagant and seemingly senseless acts of violence. Now, finally, comes the objective and all-encompassing popular history of this latest generation of "Irish troubles." 16-page photo insert.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A massive, often turgid history that shows how talks without resolution and the shadow of the gunman have become fixtures in Northern Ireland during the past 25 years. Though familiar with images of intermittent, brutal, often senseless murders such as that of Lord Mountbatten, Americans are only dimly aware of the background of Ireland's deadly patriot game. The stirrings of the Catholic civil-rights movement in six- county Ulster in the mid-60's, explains Bell (History/Columbia University), quickly sparked repression by the province's Protestant unionist majority and led to the introduction of British troops and the revival of the all-but-dead IRA through a new, more militant Provisional wing. Since then, the four major diplomatic players have become ensnared in ancient tribal grievances and/or illusions: Ulster's Catholics, still smarting over persistent discrimination, refuse to yield their dreams of unity with the Republic of Ireland; the province's Protestants, whining that Great Britain is ready to sell them out, adamantly refuse to share power with the Catholic minority; Dublin, powerless to gain the united Ireland it has always desired, pushes empty, symbolic pacts like the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement; and London, when not ignoring Ulster, regards the Irish of both faiths with condescension. Bell excels in describing key figures like fire-eating loyalist Rev. Ian Paisley and Whitehall's succession of genial, ignorant Northern Ireland secretaries, and he details well the inner workings of the IRA--not surprising, given his track record as a student of both terrorism and the IRA (Assassin!, 1979, etc.). But Bell mistakes windiness for eloquence, and simplistically attributes the conflict's lack of a solution to the psychological pleasure derived by history-haunted fanatics. Often powerful in illuminating the dynamics behind the diplomatic stalemate--but sluggish and sometimes muddled (e.g., in the treatment of the John Stalker controversy). (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Among a spate of titles on Northern Ireland published since 1985, this extraordinary tome ranks among the very best. A historian at Columbia University's Institute of War and Peace Studies, Bell has written more than 20 books on terrorism and political violence, including four about the Irish Republican Army and Northern Ireland. In his new work, he employs a chronological organization marked by insightful analysis of the ideas, motives, perspectives, illusions, strengths, and weaknesses of people and groups, providing a sound basis for judging their actions and the consequences of those actions. More comprehensive than any other title in the field, this exhaustive survey is not merely an encyclopedia but a tapestry of interpretations and information. Neither an introductory nor an easy book, it is nonetheless the one to read before all others in order to understand Northern Ireland. Highly recommended for the more-than-casual inquirer.
- Richard B. Finnegan, Stonehill Coll., North Easton, Mass.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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