About the Author
The president of Sinn Fein since 1983, Gerry Adams has served as a member of Parliament for West Belfast from 1983 to 1992 and from 1997 to the present. Dubbed "a gifted writer" by The New York Times, Adams is the author of numerous nonfiction books as well as a volume of fiction, The Street and Other Stories. He lives in Belfast.
Born in Belfast in 1948, Adams has spent his entire life in the nationalist movement and immediately states that he was never a member of the IRA; he similarly denies that Sinn Fein is "the political wing of the IRA." Northern Ireland politics is always a complicated array of facts and contradictions, but Adams has done a workmanlike job of defining events and personalities. He puts the 1988 Gibraltar assassinations of three IRA members squarely at the feet of Margaret Thatcher. And while he excoriates Thatcher and her ilk, he embraces Nelson Mandela ("the greatest political leader of our time"), Steve Bilko, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Rosa Parks and Ho Chi Minh as mentors and heroes. The Good Friday Agreement is at the book's heart. There are many heroes, including Nobel laureate John Hume, Irish Prime Ministers Albert Reynolds and Bertie Ahern, Tony Blair and, most prominently, Bill Clinton. Adams shows how he and his cohorts reached across the Atlantic for help and support. It was Clinton's unilateral 1994 act granting Adams a visa to enter the U.S. that started the peace process rolling. Adams takes us step-by-step through the tense negotiations, which culminated in the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Adams's eighth book is suspenseful, biased, subversive, blunt and often funny. Edifying for both the neophyte and the veteran observer, it will open eyes as to how this master politician thinks and operates. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov. 11) Forecast: Adams's tremendous popularity among Irish-Americans, national media appearances and a five-city publicity tour should make A Farther Shore an appealing Christmas buy in the Irish-American community. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Adams, the president of Sinn Fein, widely seen as the political arm of the IRA, writes his version of the history of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, an achievement for which Adams feels the IRA deserves full credit. In his eyes, the Brits and the Unionists are liars and killers and the IRA are heroes, though some of their more blatantly innocent victims earn Adams's apologies. Early on, after calling on the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr., Adams declares that Sinn Fein doesn't advocate violent struggle-and promptly salutes the IRA's years of bombings and killings. Political struggle among Sinn Fein, the Social Democratic Labor Party, and British PMs occupies much of the book. President Clinton and a hapless-looking George Mitchell surface during treaty negotiations, and David Trimble, the Unionist leader who persuaded Protestant Ulster to approve the agreement, earns grudging mention. There are truths in Adams's book, but they require distillation. His account of being shot is dramatic, and his spare humor isn't bad. The most original portion is Adams's account of the priests who help in the struggle despite the Catholic Church's official opposition. As a primary source, this autobiography should be acquired by public and academic collections.-Robert Moore, Bristol-Myers Squibb Medical Imaging, Billerica, MA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Advance praise for A Farther Shore
"A rollicking good read, replete with murder, noble deeds,
hilarious mistakes, treachery, and chicanery, from the pen of a
nonjudgmental, gifted writer who is a decent, honorable leader,
--Malachy McCourt, author of A Monk Swimming "The Irish peace process had to overcome decades--if not centuries--of hate, mistrust, and oppression. Its success was a true triumph of the human spirit. No one did more to make it happen than Gerry Adams. A Farther Shore tells you why. It is gripping, moving, and on the money."
--Congressman Peter King, co-chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Irish Affairs "The refusal to acknowledge the roots of conflict guarantees its perpetuation, whether in Ireland, in Iraq, or on our own shores. Thankfully there are voices--and Gerry Adams will always be among them--who are prepared to penetrate the silence. A Farther Shore is a memoir of a place and a time rather than of a man; Adams, no fool, knows that his story is not the only one. That he has the bravery to pull aside the silence is just one of his gifts. That he has offered us a history with hope is yet another."
--Colum McCann, author of Dancer: A Novel