A SECRET HISTORY OF THE IRA

Ed Moloney, Author . Norton $28.95 (512p) ISBN 978-0-393-05194-0

Most of this sure-to-be controversial narrative centers on the activities of Gerry Adams, who, over the course of his long IRA career, moved the organization away from the gun and toward a negotiated settlement with its British and Loyalist enemies. Moloney, an award-winning Irish journalist, begins with the crucial 1969 split between the Provisional IRA (PIRA), which championed armed struggle, and the socialist-leaning Official IRA. As a youth in Belfast, Adams joined the PIRA, and worked his way up through the ranks. As leader, he revamped the PIRA, starting in the 1980s, by altering its military structure while moving it into the political arena. Adams's strategy of utilizing both the bullet and the ballot, as Moloney repeatedly argues, led to inherent contradictions. Military operations, especially if they resulted in dead civilians, weakened Sinn Fein, the PIRA's political wing. In 1982, according to Moloney (years earlier than previously reported), Adams further eroded the militarists' influence by entering into secret peace negotiations with the Irish and British governments. Over the course of 16 years, Adams did the unthinkable and demilitarized Irish politics, but Moloney seems less than appreciative of Adams's achievements. His Adams is a Machiavellian figure who outmaneuvered and sold out the militarists within the PIRA. Some readers might conclude—though Moloney never states it outright—that Adams was the unnamed high-level IRA informer who, Moloney reports, tipped off the British to some IRA military operations. Whether Moloney is right or wrong about Adams, he's written an exhaustive and highly provocative account of the inner workings of the Provisionals. 16 pages of photos, 5 maps. (Nov.)

Forecast:The U.S. embargo on this will be lifted the first week of October and will be coordinated with international publication. With potentially explosive revelations, this should receive major media attention and big sales.

Reviewed on: 09/30/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
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