Reading and learning are two of my passions and it is my pleasure to share these books with you.I have read them all and have found them to be both insightful and engaging. I encourage your feedback and I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did.
Maj Chris Buckham
Friday, 26 July 2013
Making Sense of the Troubles - David McKittrick and David McVea
Title: Making Sense of the Troubles
Author: David McKittrick and David McVea ISBN: 978-0-14-100305-4 Softcover Pages: 352 Publisher: Penguin Publishing
Ireland has, for the most part, emerged from the dark period known as “The Troubles”.
While tension between Catholics and Protestants, Irish and English still exist,
it has been subsumed by the, albeit imperfect, political process as opposed to
the way of the gun. What is still unknown to many however, is the history
behind the challenges of Northern Ireland. McKittrick and McVea have drafted a
detailed synopsis of the events, decisions and legal and ethical drama that
became the hallmark of the Irish story.
with the creation of the Irish Republic in 1922, they trace the regional
political turmoil that saw a most convoluted interaction between the Republic
of Ireland, the UK and the Loyalist and Republican factions in the north. The detailed
analysis outlining the methods with which the Loyalists held onto power (and why),
the decision of London not to intervene despite their clear oversight role (thereby
enabling the Loyalist leaders to carry on despite blatant inequality against
the Republican Catholics) provides an outstanding macro level overview of the
conditions leading up the breakout of hostilities in 1969.
the commencement of hostilities from extremist factions of both the Republican
and Loyalist side, the authors trace the involvement of London and Dublin,
initially politically and finally on both (for the UK) the political and
military fronts, as they are drawn inexorably into the worsening situation. The
reader is then led through the seemingly insurmountable obstacles facing the
parties as they grapple with the deepening crisis of the 1970’s and 80’s until,
ultimately, fatigue, necessity and reality combine to gradually draw the factions to initial common ground
with the Good Friday Accord in 1998. This was not the end of the Northern Irish
story as low level violence and political conflict continued; it marked
however, the beginning of the end of the violence and the start of the reconciliation
of all partied involved.
book is an extremely balanced rendition of the problem of Northern Ireland. No
parties involved were completely innocent or guilty and the challenge to the
authors was to present what had occurred in a manner easily followed by the
reader and in such a way that resulting opinion would be based on fact and not
popular myth. McKittrick and McVea are outstandingly successful in their
efforts in this regard. Additionally, they provide a very helpful
timeline/synopsis of the significant events in Northern Irish history as well
as charts and graphs that clearly lay out the ebb and flow of the violence. Another
strength of this work is the bibliographical insert that provides the reader
with additional reference material.
a great success for McKittrick and McVea. The Gordian Knot that was the Northern
Irish peace process is presented in an even and fair manner consistent with the
high standards of journalism and education that the authors have maintained over
years of observing the activities of the North. Very highly recommended.