Books about the IRA and the "Troubles"
December 14, 2008 3:20 PM   Subscribe

What are the best -- in terms of compelling writing and in terms of comprehensiveness -- books about the "Troubles" between Ireland and the UK over the past 50 or so years? Bonus points if available on Kindle.

AskMe produced some results on Irish history in general but not specifically the Troubles.
posted by proj to Education (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Not a book but a good online resource - have you had a look at CAIN ?
posted by plep at 3:27 PM on December 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Green Flag is so close to being the book you want. It's almost 900 pages of comprehensive annotated history of Irish Nationalism, spanning from 1170 to... 1923. That said, I can't recommend it more, and it would give you a fantastic background to the past 50 years.
posted by The Michael The at 3:55 PM on December 14, 2008

Eamonn Collins' Killing Rage does not fit 'comprehensive', being a memoir, but certainly compels. The Times reprinted the first chapter here.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:00 PM on December 14, 2008

Not comprehensive either, but I found Eyewitness Bloody Sunday, and the movie Bloody Sunday (based on the book), to be pretty amazing. In a blood chilling way.

It's a novel, but Leon Uris's Trinity is a pretty good book. Definitely not objective but I think you can maybe get an idea of historical emotions from it.

[I have Catholic family in Belfast, and I'm biased, just FYI]
posted by sully75 at 4:46 PM on December 14, 2008

Trinity by Leon Uris is historical fiction about Catholic and Protestant Ireland from the 1850s to 1920s.

"For anyone who likes to sit and ponder, or yell indignantly, or reach out with their heart, this novel is perfect. Aside from the issue that is Ireland, Uris forces into one's full consciousness the many facets of humanity's ability for evil and good, selfishness and selflessness, and all the other feelings and ideas that make the world what it is.

It really gives a complete insight into a definite period of Irish history. For example, it clearly distinguishes three very different families. A nationalist, a unionist, and a family of aristocracy. We read how these families think and behave in very different ways. The nationalist family tend to see the situation from a purely Irish point of view. The unionist see things from a British and Irish point of view. Whilst the aristocrat family see things purely in a British way. So the story enlightens us of what is like to live in a land where there is conflict of interest." -- Amazon review
posted by netbros at 4:58 PM on December 14, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the fiction recommendations, but I'm specifically looking for non-fiction to get myself educated about this. Sorry for the confusion. Please keep them coming, great suggestions so far!
posted by proj at 5:03 PM on December 14, 2008

Best answer: Check out Making Sense of the Troubles by McKittrick or The Troubles by Tim Pat Coogan.
posted by fshgrl at 5:33 PM on December 14, 2008

Not a book and not comprehensive, but it is a pretty compelling story about British intelligence and the IRA.
posted by milkrate at 6:30 PM on December 14, 2008

Best answer: I agree with plep's recommendation of CAIN. They have a comprehensive bibliography.
Not read myself, but recently recommended by people elsewhere (from a Republican point of view):
Ballymurphy And The Irish War
Eamonn McCann's War and an Irish Town (extract on CAIN)
posted by Abiezer at 1:16 AM on December 15, 2008

For the record: Eyewitness Bloody Sunday is definitely non-fiction.
posted by sully75 at 2:35 PM on December 31, 2008

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