Biting at the Grave: The Irish Hunger Strikes and the Politics of Despair

Padraig O'Malley, Author Beacon Press (MA) $22.95 (330p) ISBN 978-0-8070-0208-7
In 1981 the conflict in Ireland's northern counties was marked by the hunger strikes of IRA prisoners pursuing status as political prisoners. Ten men died in the strikes; one, Bobby Sands, an unseated member of Parliament, in death assumed heroic dimensions at home and abroad. Pinpointing how the hunger strikes ``exposed the contradiction at the core of the Catholic nationalist psyche,'' O'Malley, an Irish citizen and author of Uncivil Wars: Northern Ireland Today, assembles strands of elitism, nationalism and the peculiar sanction of the dead into a powerful and passionate chronicle of a people's yearning. This masterly survey of Ireland's multifaceted political history is given human scale in poignant interviews with the strikers' survivors. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 06/05/1990
Release date: 06/01/1990
Paperback - 344 pages - 978-0-8070-0209-4
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