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A Secret History of the IRA


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Ed Moloney has been Northern Ireland Editor of both the Irish Times and the Sunday Tribune. He has written for a wide range of newspapers and magazines in Ireland, the UK and the USA. In 1999 he was Irish Journalist of the Year. He currently lives in New York.


Most of this sure-to-be controversial narrative centers on the activities of Gerry Adams, who, over the course of his long IRA career, moved the organization away from the gun and toward a negotiated settlement with its British and Loyalist enemies. Moloney, an award-winning Irish journalist, begins with the crucial 1969 split between the Provisional IRA (PIRA), which championed armed struggle, and the socialist-leaning Official IRA. As a youth in Belfast, Adams joined the PIRA, and worked his way up through the ranks. As leader, he revamped the PIRA, starting in the 1980s, by altering its military structure while moving it into the political arena. Adams's strategy of utilizing both the bullet and the ballot, as Moloney repeatedly argues, led to inherent contradictions. Military operations, especially if they resulted in dead civilians, weakened Sinn Fein, the PIRA's political wing. In 1982, according to Moloney (years earlier than previously reported), Adams further eroded the militarists' influence by entering into secret peace negotiations with the Irish and British governments. Over the course of 16 years, Adams did the unthinkable and demilitarized Irish politics, but Moloney seems less than appreciative of Adams's achievements. His Adams is a Machiavellian figure who outmaneuvered and sold out the militarists within the PIRA. Some readers might conclude though Moloney never states it outright that Adams was the unnamed high-level IRA informer who, Moloney reports, tipped off the British to some IRA military operations. Whether Moloney is right or wrong about Adams, he's written an exhaustive and highly provocative account of the inner workings of the Provisionals. 16 pages of photos, 5 maps. (Nov.) Forecast: The U.S. embargo on this will be lifted the first week of October and will be coordinated with international publication. With potentially explosive revelations, this should receive major media attention and big sales. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

An award-winning journalist and former Northern Editor of the Irish Times and Sunday Tribune, Moloney describes the delicate political maneuvering of Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams, which compelled the Provisional Irish Republican Army ultimately to accept what their constitution explicity forbade: a cease-fire in the fight to unify Ireland. Airing details of IRA political infighting for the first time, Moloney grants the lion's share of credit for the growing peace to Adams. Adams is the master insider, politician, and statesman who manipulated violence and the promise of peace in negotiations with England, Ireland, Ulster, and, to a lesser degree, America. By creating an internal bureaucracy that produced volumes of reports, more than the Army Council could digest, Adams kept control of the laborious negotiations. His greatest challenge, and success, was keeping the rank-and-file IRA in the dark about precisely what he was doing and how, working toward the cease-fire. The final push was the 9/11 attack, when the IRA dumped its weapons for fear of being lumped politically with al Qaeda by the Bush administration. Historians may ultimately apportion the credit differently, but Moloney does capture an important part of the process. For academic libraries and larger public collections.-Robert Moore, Bristol-Myers Squibb Medical Imaging, Billerica, MA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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