On January 30, 1972, British paratroopers opened fire on unarmed Irish Catholic demonstrators in Derry, killing thirteen and wounding another fourteen. Five were shot in the back. A major turning point in the recent history of Northern Ireland, the massacre galvanized Catholics in their struggle against the British presence in Ulster. In Those Are Real Bullets, Peter Pringle and Philip Jacobson provide the definitive, full-length narrative account of Bloody Sunday. Using extensive interviews and recently declassified documents unavailable for previous books about the shootings, they vividly re-create the chaos and terror of the day and capture the full human impact of the tragedy. Those Are Real Bullets provides an intimate portrait of a city in revolt and the climax of a failed military response that plunged Northern Ireland into three decades of armed conflict. "A shocking, stomach-turning, enraging narrative history that should be required reading." -- Irish Independent "Written by two veteran, first-rate reporters, this book will remain the standard account of that miserable day." -- Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Daily Mail
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In the Irish Republic, January 30, 1972, is known as "Bloody Sunday," the day when 13 unarmed Catholic marchers were killed and another 14 wounded as, Pringle and Jacobson say, "part of a deliberate plan, conceived at the highest level of military command and sanctioned by the British government." An official investigation conducted immediately after the incident excused the army for its actions. A generation later, Tony Blair reopened the investigation, making all previously classified archives available to the investigators. Pringle and Jacobson, veteran journalists of the British Sunday Times who have covered the story from the beginning, offer the most complete retelling of the events that led up to that awful day and the horror that ensued. In the late 1960s under the SDLP party led by John HumeAwho would win a Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 for his work on the Northern Ireland peace processACatholics adopted the tactics of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and picketed for civil rights. These marches were met with force by the British, and internment was introduced under the Special Powers Act, which, in turn, swelled recruitment in the outlawed IRA. By 1972, the situation was at the breaking point. Maj.-Gen. Robert Ford, commander of land forces for Northern Ireland, was under tremendous pressure from the Protestant majority and London to restore law and order. Although he was advised that the January 30 march was to be peaceful, he prepared for confrontation with both the IRA and its rock-throwing youngsters. The result was slaughter. Disturbing, raw and compassionate, Pringle and Jacobson's account is mesmerizing. 8 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. (Jan.) Forecast: This book has a ready audience among Irish-Americans. It could also sell to other readers interested in human rights around the world, peaceful protest and the often violent response it evokes from those in power.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
On January 30, 1972, British paratroopers stationed in Northern Ireland fired on a crowd of Londonderry demonstrators who were demanding improvements in civil rights for Catholics. Thirteen people were killed and 14 were wounded. A British government inquiry essentially exonerated the soldiers, but many viewed this as a politicized whitewash. At the instigation of Prime Minister Blair, a massive new inquiry is being conducted. Pringle and Jacobson are veteran journalists who have covered the story since its inception. In examining the evidence, some of it recently declassified, they have presented a shocking, if clearly biased account of a misguided political and military policy leading to disastrous consequences. The authors obviously have an agenda, and they are far too willing to accept at face value "evidence" of government culpability. Still, much of their verified information is deeply disturbing, including the apparently deliberate shooting of unarmed women and a man waving a white truce flag. While they have not produced the definitive story on this tragedy, they certainly will create controversy and stimulate anticipation for the new government inquiry. Jay Freeman
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