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The Ireland Story

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Books on The 'Troubles'

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General Irish History - Before 1600 - 1600 to 1969 - The 'Troubles' - Maps - Discovery Maps - Other Books

* Essential Title *

Lost Lives         
Edited by D McKittrick, S Kelters, B Feeney, C Thornton; Hardback; 1999; Trafalgar Square; ISBN: 184018227X; 1630 pages.

One of the most awesome books to emerge from 30 years of bloodshed in Northern Ireland, this book explores the personality and circumstances behind each of the 3600 people who died since 1969. As you browse its pages you see how the Troubles touches everyone: from RUC officers to IRA members, from soldiers to mothers, from ministers to politicians, from grandparents to children. A review said "A devastating account of the price paid for peace. Read it and weep. I know I did, and without apology to the cynics". In a work that took over 7 years to compile, the editors have produced a true masterpiece that is a monument fit to serve the memory of all those who died in the Troubles.

The Provos: The IRA and Sinn Fein
By Peter Taylor; Paperback; 1998; Bloomsbury; ISBN: 0747538182; 384 pages.

A detailed study of the changes in the strategy and focus of the IRA and Sinn Fein from the 1970s to the peace process. Peter Taylor, who served as a journalist in Northern Ireland for many years, is well qualified to write this book. However, he does not rely solely on his own experience - rather, he has interviewed many of the IRA members who were actually involved in the events described and has used their accounts to bring the history to life. This book faithfully traces the amazing changes that the last 30 years have seen, both within the IRA and also the world's attitude to them.. Required reading for anyone interested in the story of the Troubles and the peace process of the 1990s.

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The Loyalists
By Peter Taylor; Paperback; 2000; Bloomsbury; ISBN: 0747545197; 296 pages.

A completely updated version of this popular book, Peter Taylor continues the series that began with Provos. Here he turns his attention to the loyalists of Northern Ireland and, through the use of breathtakingly frank interviews with actual loyalist gunmen and bombers, successfully opens up this enigmatic world. Focussing on the years of the Troubles, Taylor takes the reader on a journey through the loyalist mindset, the violence of the last 30 years and the essential contribution that they believe they made to bringing about the peace process of the 1990s. The book also examines the uneasy relationship between the loyalists and Unionist politicans. Required reading for anyone studying the Troubles, sectarianism and the peace process of the 1990s.

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* Essential Title *

(Amazon.com version. Click for Amazon.co.uk cover)

The Catholics of Ulster: A History
By Marianne Elliot; Amazon.com version: Hardback; 2001; Basic Books; ISBN: 046501903X; 650 pages. Amazon.co.uk version: Hardback; 2000; Allen Lane The Penguin Press; ISBN: 0713994649; 688 pages.

Described as "one of the most distinguished" books on Irish history in recent years (Bardon), Marianne Elliot, herself an Ulster Catholic, explores her people, a family that has always been somewhat apart from the rest of Ireland. The book peels away layers of myth and legend to reveal the reality behind the people who, by virtue of their location, have been the minority in a majority Protestant state for the past 80 years. Ms Elliot explores their complex history from the plantation to the present day. This is a book that is both brutal and triumphant. A much anticipated, provocative and critically acclaimed book.

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US version not yet published - due Feb 2001
Order From Amazon.co.uk 20.00

Merely Players: Portraits from Northern Ireland by Bobbie Hanvey
Edited by Brian Turner; Hardback; 1999; Colourpoint Books; ISBN: 1898392552; 128 pages.

Bobbie Hanvey is one of Northern Ireland's finest portrait photographers. In this book, Bobbie's first published collection, Brian Turner has collected together portraits of people who have shaped, or simply lived in, Northern Ireland in the last 30 years. Among the many portraits are UUP leader David Trimble, Sinn Fein's Martin Meehan, former RUC chief Sir John Hermon, poet Seamus Heaney as well as many of the ordinary people of Northern Ireland. As the editor says, "As the twentieth century closes, many of the elements of Irish history in the previous millennium are still with us, developed, twisted, wonderful, courageous, shameful, dangerous, and hopeful. You can hear them all playing softly behind the names and faces in this book." This book is a unique record of the last 30 years as seen through the lens of an award winning photographer.

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Order From Amazon.co.uk 19.99
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The RUC: a Force Under Fire
By Chris Ryder; Paperback; 2000; Arrow; ISBN: 0099410990; 547 pages.

As the police in Northern Ireland, the RUC has been both an important element in the conflict and the subject of political wrangling throughout the past decades and the peace process. Rarely, however, do we hear from the force itself. This is an inside account of the force, taking the reader through its history and in particular the last 30 years where the RUC suffered one of the western world's highest police casualty rates. This book is a rare look at the world from the point of view of the RUC. Nevertheless, Chris Ryder pulls no punches when it comes to criticising poor decisions. A fascinating book and essential for those genuinely seeking to look at all perspectives of the Northern Ireland conflict.

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An Irish Voice: The Quest for Peace
By Gerry Adams; Paperback; 1997; Roberts Rinehart Publishers; ISBN: 1570981566; 281 pages.

At the start of the peace process, Gerry Adams was not allowed into the USA. By the end, he had dined with the President. This is a collection of articles by Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams that appeared in the US newspaper the Irish Voice between 1992 and 1997, covering this remarkable period of transition. The book is fascinating because it documents the Republican prespective on each stage of the emerging peace process and the reader is left with a clear impression of the way that Republicans view the Northern Ireland conflict. A recommended read for those interested in all perspectives.

By Henry McDonald; Hardback; 2000; Bloomsbury; ISBN: 0747544522; 348 pages.

Journalist Henry McDonald explores the political career of David Trimble, the man who was at the helm of Unionism throughout the peace process. Spanning 30 years, Trimble is an historical look at this unique man through the era of Vanguard Unionism, to the Drumcree situation and the setting up of Northern Ireland's first Assembly in 30 years. The book also takes time to explore the personal side of Mr Trimble. A very interesting read about a politican who has almost single-handedly led Unionism through the peace process.

* Essential Title *

The Faithful Tribe
By Ruth Dudley-Edwards; Amazon.com: Hardback; 1999; HarperCollins; ISBN: 0002558637; 623 pages. Amazon.co.uk: Paperback; 2000; HarperCollins; ISBN: 0006388906; 623 pages.

The Orange Order is surely one of the most controversial groups of people in Ireland today. Are they swaggering sectarian bigots, or misrepresented family men? Ruth Dudley-Edwards, a southern Catholic, has spent many years exploring the Orange Order and its adherants and has produced a fond, although not uncritical, exploration of the loyal order. The reader is taken into the heart of Orange homes and events, where the significance of Orange marches and other activities is explained. She also explains how the Orangemen have been their own worst enemy, particularly during the era of Drumcree and in their apparent inability to handle public relations. Ms Dudley-Edwards said that while conducting her research, she began to appreciate the virtues of a way of life that could never suit her. An exceptional title that deserves to be read by sympathisers and critics alike, if only to gain an understanding of why the Orange Order do what they do.

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Northern Protestants
By Susan McKay; Paperback; 2000; Blackstaff Press; ISBN: 085640666X; 288 pages.

Susan McKay, herself a northern Protestant now living in Dublin, has undertaken 60 interviews with Protestants from all shades and backgrounds in Northern Ireland. She has compiled these together with a commentary and analysis into a detailed overview of Protestant opinion in Northern Ireland. In particular she tackles the issue of the relationship between loyalist paramilitaries and Unionists. What comes out from the book is the feeling of a community with a sense of siege, a desire to preserve their way of life and betrayal. A very interesting book.

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John Hume: A New Ireland Politics, Peace and Reconciliation
By John Hume; Paperback; 1997; Roberts Rinehart Publishers; ISBN: 1570981418; 192 pages.

John Hume is the leader of Northern Ireland's largest Nationalist Party, the SDLP. In this, his autobiography, he traces his roots and family upbringing and then describes his vision for a peaceful Ireland and an international Irish nation. John Hume has always had a reputation for being a visionary and this book is no exception. He traces out an Ireland that could exist and then justifies his strategy for achieving it, beginning with his talks with Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams in the early 1990s to the peace negotiations that followed. He argues that Unionists and Nationalists "have been trapped by a tragic error of history which saw their hopes and fears as mutually exclusive and irreconcilable within an Irish state" and calls for unity through diversity where neither side needs to "win". Virtually unknown in the USA, John Hume's Nationalism makes a fascinating read. A deserving book by the man who, the year after his book was published, received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Inside the Maze
By Chris Ryder; Hardback; 2000; Methuen Publishing; ISBN: 0413752402; 381 pages.

Northern Ireland's Maze Prison closed its gates for the last time in late 2000 after 32 years spent confining some of the most notorious loyalist and republican paramilitaries ever to walk in Ireland. The most secure prison in the UK, the Maze has seen both mass-breakouts and the negotiations that helped to bring about the IRA and loyalist ceasefires. Hated by both sides of the paramilitary divide, the Maze has become a worldwide symbol of the Troubles. In this book, Chris Ryder (also author of The RUC: a Force Under Fire) gives the inside story of the prison and the men and women who worked - and on several occasions were killed - within its walls. The fact that the Maze will soon be bulldozed out of reality and relegated to the history books makes this an even more timely book. A fascinating title exploring one of Northern Ireland's most notorious and powerful symbols.

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