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  • 15 person found this review helpful

    15 people found this review helpful

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    Excellent and Informative History

    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review. “From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions.” That description is very accurate, but is just the tip of the iceberg. The story begins in December of 1972, when 38-year old Jean McConville, mother to 10 children, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders and was never to be seen again. Who was responsible, and why? It would take 30 years before her bones were found, but why it happened is never explained to my satisfaction. As a teenager in the 70’s, the evening news was filled with the horrors of war. My personal focus was more on Viet Nam, and the bombs and explosions in Ireland took second place. I must admit I had only a basic knowledge of The Troubles. The author details the history of the conflicts in Ireland, the birth of the IRA and the brutality that took place. He has done an excellent job of filling in the history of the conflict, as well as analyzing the masterminds behind the terror and the “volunteers” who carried out the acts. This book also left me so profoundly sad. And angry. And mystified. Have we learned nothing? Will we ever learn to live in peace with each other? How do you reconcile your actions with your religion? How do people live with themselves after doing such unspeakable things? Even if you weren’t part of the abductions, bombings or just plain hatred being spewed, how do you look yourself in the mirror each morning after you have left your neighbor’s 10 young children fend for themselves after their mother’s disappearance? I guess it weighs pretty heavily, as some of the IRA volunteers participated in Boston College’s interviews of IRA members, with the contents to be released after their deaths, as a catharsis and unburdening of their souls. Others pretended they were never members. I highly recommend this book. It appears to be very well-researched, and is an insightful and informative look into a very troubling time in Ireland’s history. It is also a book that will challenge you to look at the world around us. We haven’t learned a thing.

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