The Irish War: The Hidden Conflict Between the IRA and British Intelligence

Tony Geraghty, Author
Tony Geraghty, Author Johns Hopkins University Press $61 (420p) ISBN 978-0-8018-6456-8
Hardcover - 404 pages - 978-0-00-255617-0
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-00-638674-2
Paperback - 472 pages - 978-0-8018-7117-7
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The former chief reporter of the London Sunday Times, Geraghty (Who Dares Wins; The Bullet Catchers) here assesses ""Irish identity,"" which he sees as ""the true source"" of the continuing troubles in Northern Ireland. The IRA, he says, has hijacked Irish identity and created something that ""owes little to real Celtic culture."" What the IRA ""peddles"" as Irish identity, Geraghty contends, is ""a powerful, dynamic force which politicizes the natural culture and envenoms it through an obsession not with Ireland but with England."" The book's first three sections present a highly opinionated look at the last 30 years of ""Troubles,"" while the last section is a satisfying survey of 300 years of the relationship between Ireland and England in 100 pages. Geraghty uses a patchwork of sources, including interviews with British intelligence and IRA officials and his firsthand reporting of the fighting in Northern Ireland in 1969-1971 as a Times reporter. The author, who served with the British Red Berets and as a liaison officer in the Persian Gulf War, was arrested in 1998 after this book's British publication and accused of violating Britain's Official Secrets Act by mentioning sensitive software. The case was highly publicized in Britain. The book's strengths are its attention to detail and its direct, potent writing. While the revelations pertaining to spy methodology and guerrilla fighting might not strike readers on these shores with the same force as they did those on the other side of the pond, the book makes a compelling introduction to a painful struggle. (May)
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