Falls Memories: A Belfast Life

Gerry Adams, Author Roberts Rinehart Publishers $10.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-879373-96-9
Sinn Fein president Adams's memoir of growing up in the Falls Road region of Belfast, spiritual center of Northern Irish republicanism, is both a nostalgic recollection of the author's early life and a fond history of the city's Catholic working class. Adams asserts that ``people in this part of the world have a benign and protective attitude towards militant republicanism,'' and presents a detailed colloquial history of Falls Road that considers Northern Irish sectarianism within economic and class contexts. Although his subject matter and themes are steeped in the Republican vernacular, Adams writes in an informal, conversational style, largely free of overt political tones, and even manages to inject a wry sense of humor into the most touching of histories. Relatively innocent episodes from Adams's Belfast boyhood contrast with his growing awareness of religious factionalism, which, ``like all sectarianism, had nothing to do with religion and was merely, as always, a profitable ruse.'' Although Adams's analysis of the cultural background of the Northern Ireland conflict is lucid, this memoir reveals little of Adams himself, and less of Adams the politician. Using lyrics of children's songs, details of esoteric street games, reminiscences of local characters and illustrations of landmarks from his youth, Adams instead sketches a deeply felt and gentle portrait of a people whose ``courage, self-reliance, hospitality, generosity and good humour . . . is as strong now as it ever was,'' despite a quarter-century of warfare. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
Paperback - 144 pages - 978-1-56833-191-1
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 144 pages - 978-1-4617-3342-3
Hardcover - 160 pages - 978-0-86322-013-5
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!