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Say Nothing : A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
by Patrick Radden Keefe




Overview -
One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year

BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR - TIME MAGAZINE

ONE OF THE BEST 10 BOOKS OF THE YEAR - WASHINGTON POST

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST

WINNER OF THE ORWELL PRIZE

LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

Masked intruders dragged Jean McConville, a 38-year-old widow and mother of 10, from her Belfast home in 1972. In this meticulously reported book -- as finely paced as a novel -- Keefe uses McConville's murder as a prism to tell the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Interviewing people on both sides of the conflict, he transforms the tragic damage and waste of the era into a searing, utterly gripping saga. - New York Times Book Review, Ten Best Books of the Year

From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions

In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville's children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress--with so many kids, she had always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes.

Patrick Radden Keefe's mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. From radical and impetuous I.R.A. terrorists such as Dolours Price, who, when she was barely out of her teens, was already planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution, to the ferocious I.R.A. mastermind known as The Dark, to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army, to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace but betrayed his hardcore comrades by denying his I.R.A. past--Say Nothing conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish.

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Overview

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year

BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR - TIME MAGAZINE

ONE OF THE BEST 10 BOOKS OF THE YEAR - WASHINGTON POST

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST

WINNER OF THE ORWELL PRIZE

LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

Masked intruders dragged Jean McConville, a 38-year-old widow and mother of 10, from her Belfast home in 1972. In this meticulously reported book -- as finely paced as a novel -- Keefe uses McConville's murder as a prism to tell the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Interviewing people on both sides of the conflict, he transforms the tragic damage and waste of the era into a searing, utterly gripping saga. - New York Times Book Review, Ten Best Books of the Year

From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions

In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville's children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress--with so many kids, she had always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes.

Patrick Radden Keefe's mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. From radical and impetuous I.R.A. terrorists such as Dolours Price, who, when she was barely out of her teens, was already planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution, to the ferocious I.R.A. mastermind known as The Dark, to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army, to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace but betrayed his hardcore comrades by denying his I.R.A. past--Say Nothing conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385521314
  • ISBN-10: 0385521316
  • Publisher: Doubleday Books
  • Publish Date: February 2019
  • Page Count: 464
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

Say Nothing

Jean McConville was 38 years old in December 1972 when a masked man kidnapped her from her flat in a bleak housing project in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her 10 children, some of whom were clinging to her legs as she was dragged from her home, never saw her again. It was soon rumored that McConville, a Protestant once married to a Catholic, had been snatched—and probably executed—by the outlawed provisional wing of the Irish Republican Army because she was an informer.

So begins Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland, The New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe’s gripping, revelatory and unsettling account of McConville’s murder and its reverberations throughout the 30-year spasm of violence known as the “troubles,” which left 3,500 dead in its wake. To tell the story, Keefe delves into a long and devastating history of open and hidden conflict, parts of which remain entombed within the IRA’s code of silence. With visceral detail, he describes life in the embattled neighborhoods, where suspicion and betrayal festered on all sides. Keefe also offers compelling portraits of some of the leading figures in the conflict, among them Gerry Adams, who helped broker the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that brought an end to armed conflict. He went on to preside over Sinn Féin, sometimes called the political arm of the IRA.

But the most riveting figure in this narrative is Dolours Price. She and her younger sister, Marian, were radicalized as students after a peaceful march for union with Ireland was violently attacked. Described as having a quick tongue, flaming red hair and a peacock personality, she was chosen by Adams for an elite squad. She played a part in McConville’s abduction, organized a car bombing attack on London and, when imprisoned, led a hunger strike that inflamed the romantic revolutionary imagination. But as a true believer, she, along with others, was devastated when Adams first denied that he was ever in the IRA and then brokered a peace agreement that did not include the unification of Ireland. She was, allegedly, not an inherently violent person, and she was left wondering what it was all for. Which is one of the most profound and unanswerable questions this searing book will leave in a reader’s mind.

 

BAM Customer Reviews