THE IRISH WAR by Tony Geraghty


The Hidden Conflict Between the IRA and British Intelligence
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An angry, obsessive analysis of the Anglo-Irish conflict that throws the Good Friday Peace Accords into doubt and condemns Irish extremists (rather than the British) for perpetuating a disorganized, politically naive terrorist war whose victims have been mostly innocent civilians.

Don't call the killings, bombings, and riots in Northern Ireland mere `Troubles,` warns journalist Geraghty (Who Dares Wins, not reviewed). Born on English soil to Irish parents, Geraghty began covering Northern Ireland for London’s Sunday Times in 1969. To him, the current peace has not closed the door to isolated, reactive incidents, but is a mere phase in a continuous `Irish War` that began in 1691, when `amateur warriors . . . refined terrorism into an art form.` He makes his case in four sections that brim with anguish at so much senseless suffering, beginning with is a recap of the political-religious violence and intrigue from 1969 to 1998 that asserts, among other things, that the IRA stage-managed several violent incidents in Belfast to demonize the British and encourage American financial support. This is followed with an insider's look at 30 years of British strategies that have thwarted some—but far from all—IRA and Ulster Defense Army terrorism; an outsider's appraisal of the IRA homemade weapons industry; and an expose of the collusion between the Royal Ulster Constabulary (the heavy-handed Northern Ireland police force) and Protestant terrorists. Geraghty concludes with a hasty but thorough overview from 1691 to the present that (while acknowledging murderously cruel British oppression) identifies a distinctively Irish `physical force tradition` that has little to do with contemporary religious affiliation or political goals.

Publication of this book got Geraghty arrested in 1998 for violating England's Official Secrets Act, though the Crown later dropped its charges (and with good reason: the few British tricks revealed herein pale beside a devastating accusation of IRA inhumanity to the Irish). (20 b&w photos, maps, illustrations)

Pub Date: May 18th, 2000
ISBN: 0-8018-6456-9
Page count: 444pp
Publisher: Johns Hopkins Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2000


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