This volume is filled with passion and violence, with humanity and inhumanity. It is the story of the Northern Ireland troubles; it is not concerned with political bickering but with the lives of those who have suffered and the deaths which have resulted from more than three decades of conflict. The authors - three of them Belfast-born and the fourth an American - are journalists. Over a seven-year period they examined every death which was directly caused by the troubles. Their research involved interviewing witnesses, scouring published material and drawing on a range of investigative sources to produce this study. The book traces the origins of the conflict from the firing of the first shots, through the carnage of the 1970s and 1980s and up to the republican and loyalist ceasefires and beyond. All the casualties are here: the RUC officer, the young soldier, the IRA volunteer, the loyalist paramilitary, the Catholic mother, the Protestant worker, the new-born baby.
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David McKittrick has been the Ireland correspondent of The Independent since 1986 and was named correspondent of the year in 1999 by BBC2's What the Papers Say. He has won a number of other awards during more than 20 years of reporting on Northern Ireland, among them the Christopher Ewart-Biggs memorial prize for the promotion of peace and understanding in Ireland. His publications include four collections of his journalism. Seamus Kelters is an assistant news editor with the BBC in Belfast. He has also worked as a producer with BBC Northern Ireland's political unit and its current affairs programme Spotlight. Before joining the BBC he was a senior reporter with the Irish News where he specialised in security-related stories. He has written a book on Gaelic games. Brian Feeney, who holds a doctorate in Irish history, lives in Belfast and is a senior lecturer at a teacher-training college there. An experienced political commentator, he writes a weekly column for a local newspaper and was formerly a city councillor for almost a decade. Widely travelled, he is regarded as an expert on electoral mechanisms. Chris Thornton, an American living in Belfast, is the security correspondent of the Belfast Telegraph. He has previous experience with both of Belfast's main morning newspapers, the News Letter and the Irish News.From Library Journal:
McKittrick (Through the Minefield, LJ 2/15/00) and his coauthors are all experienced journalists of the North Ireland beat. This book is a 1600-page obituary, cataloging each life lost during "the Troubles," a huge undertaking whose results have garnered accolades in the U.K. and Ireland. The 3,638 deaths from 1966 to 2000 are chronologically numbered and indexed. Each entry includes the name, number, date of death, county of habitation, marital status, age, religion, occupation, and where appropriate affiliation (IRA, UVF, UDF, British Army, etc.). Assembled from official casualty lists, newspaper accounts, secondary sources, conversations, privately published pamphlets, and the authors' own notes, entries range from a few lines to virtual chapters. West Belfast is the deadliest neighborhood, and the IRA is responsible for almost half the deaths, though a sizable minority of the victims dies from their own blunders, e.g., premature bomb detonation. Like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, this book tallies the human cost of "the Troubles" in one place. To say that the book is sad or numbing would be an understatement. It belongs in every public and academic library.
Robert C. Moore, Raytheon, Sudbury, MA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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