HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland (2019)

by Patrick Radden Keefe

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8904517,174 (4.42)93
""Meticulously reported, exquisitely written, and grippingly told, Say Nothing is a work of revelation." --David Grann, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville's children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress--with so many kids, McConville always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes. Patrick Radden Keefe's mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. From radical and impetuous I.R.A. terrorists--or volunteers, depending on which side one was on--such as Dolours Price, who, when she was barely out of her teens, was already planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution, to the ferocious I.R.A. mastermind known as The Dark, to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army, to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace and denied his I.R.A. past, betraying his hardcore comrades--Say Nothing conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish"--"A narrative about a notorious killing that took place in Northern Ireland during The Troubles and its devastating repercussions to this day"--… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 93 mentions

English (44)  Spanish (1)  All languages (45)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Belfast, the IRA, the Missing, the RUC and the British Army. Something I learned that I knew far less about than I thought. Jean McConnville (missing mother of 10), Dolours Price (famed femme fatale), Kitson (British Army heavy hand), Brenden Hughes (IRA devotee), Gerry Adams (Sin Fein & IRA leader) and Boston College all play critical roles in the secrets of Belfast and what happened to those secrets. As you might suspect like all conflicts, it's terribly complicated with enough blame to go around to everyone involved from the IRA to Sin Fein to Belfast police and to the British government & military. The worrying part is that although Belfast is enjoying a level of peace today, it is sitting on a box of dry twigs with all the same organizations holding the fuel and lighter. I now understand why Brexit is such a complicated event mainly because of the Northern Ireland issue.

Well written book, tremendous effort went into putting this story together in great detail and ultimately told by the people who lived through it, living through it still, only using Keefe to be their microphone. ( )
  rayski | Aug 31, 2020 |
This was excellent, but I wish I had more general background on The Troubles. ( )
  beautifulshell | Aug 27, 2020 |
Belfast, 1972: The McConnville children, ten in all, are devastated when their mother, Jean, is taken away by masked abductors one cold evening. They would never see her alive again. In 2003, her body was found. Jean was one of about 20 people who were disappeared during the Troubles; in her case, the common rumour was that she was a Protestant informant seeking to undermine the republican cause. But was that really possible? An oral history project at Boston College could perhaps shed light on it, through its interviews with republican actors, although in theory the participants' recollections were supposed to stay secret until they died. But the truth has a way of getting out.

Jean McConnville's story is used as a starting point for a highly readable and compelling book about the Troubles. The other anchor for this story is Dolours Price, active in the republican cause, whose eyes hold the reader's gaze on the cover of this book. Price's moral questioning of what she has done, and what she's done it for, lend an interesting perspective to the events in this book.

This is a big book but hard to put down once you get into it. It is meticulously sourced, and the author explains exactly how it was put together. I did find it jumped around a bit from one person to another, but it made an excellent read overall. I'd recommend this if, like me, you've heard bits and pieces about the Troubles and want a book that will help you put it all together.

This book was recommended to me by LT user RidgewayGirl. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Aug 18, 2020 |
"It is not those who can inflict the most, but those who can suffer the most who shall win" Terence MacSwiney,* who died in a British prison following a hunger strike.

The Troubles in Ireland always have, for some odd reason, fascinated me. A mix of religious and political strife coupled with a strong dose of tribalism and historical enmity, that any resolution could be found is profoundly reassuring. The fear and hatred are still there, but at least they are no longer killing each other -- unless Brexit recreates a hard border once again. When we visited there and we given a tour by my good friend Tony, who lived in Belfast, the paintings on the enclave walls were still fresh, and Tony cautioned that even in 2010 we needed to be careful about what we said in certain areas.

This book is simply riveting. It mixes well-research history with a murder mystery. The mystery involves the abduction of a woman called Jean McConville, a young widow and mother of 10 children, in 1972. (That year was also the bloodiest, killing almost 500 people, many on "Bloody Friday" when the IRA unleashed a whole series of bombs in downtown Belfast.) Northern Ireland was labeled "an autonomous political lunatic asylum" by George Bernard Shaw and Keefe shows us why. I won't say much about McConville's disappearance; you can read about that yourself -- and you should. Keefe gives a real flavor for the mental as well as the physical harm to those who lived through this time. "Tranquilizer use was higher in Northern Ireland than anywhere else in the United Kingdom. In some later era, the condition would likely be described as post-traumatic stress." Both, or should I say, ALL sides, (as there were factions within factions) have little to be proud of in their actions.

The British under command of a general who had literally written the book on how to deal with insurgencies, engaged in all sorts of torture. "The British had learned these techniques by studying the experiences of soldiers who were held as prisoners of war by the Nazis or by the North Koreans and the Chinese during the Korean War." The practice was to take a prisoner, put a hood on him, pretending to throw him out of a helicopter and then subject him to numerous psychological pressures. "When the torture ended, after a week, some of the men were so broken that they could not remember their own names. Their eyes had a haunted, hollow look to them, which one of the men likened to “two pissholes in the snow.” Another detainee, who had gone into the interrogation with jet-black hair, came out of the experience with hair that was completely white. (He died not long after being released, of a heart attack, at forty-five.) When Francie McGuigan was finally returned to Crumlin Road jail, he saw his father, and the older man broke down and cried.

In one of the many sad ironies, "In a controversial 1978 decision, the European Court of Human Rights held that the techniques, while “inhuman and degrading,” did not amount to torture. (In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when the American administration of George W. Bush was fashioning its own “enhanced interrogation” techniques, officials relied explicitly on this decision to justify the use of torture.) Continuing the ironies, it was when both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland became members of the EU that the border became irrelevant, in effect completing what the violence could not ever accomplish.

The conundrum of how governments should deal with zealots and terrorists (which side you are on will determine whether a suicide bomber is a patriot or terrorist) was highlighted by the hunger strike of the Price sisters. They had been involved in planting huge car bombs around London. Fortunately all but one were defused and they were caught quickly. The British government was placed in an impossible situation. They couldn't be seen as backing down, but they didn't want the girls to become martyrs. Force-feeding was tantamount to torture. For the government, this was an impossible crisis. Even as their bodies continued to shrink and wither, the Price sisters took on an iconic dimension. “They were the stuff of which Irish martyrs could be made: two young, slim, dark girls, devout yet dedicated to terrorism,” Jenkins later recalled. He feared that the ramifications of “the death of these charismatic colleens” would be incalculable.

Privately, Jenkins regarded their demand for repatriation to be “not totally unreasonable.” .... But if the alternative was force-feeding, it was turning out to be a public relations fiasco. Many members of the British public regarded the practice as a form of torture. According to their medical records, the Price sisters sometimes fainted during the procedure. On one occasion, when the sisters resisted the feeding, they were forcibly gagged, and a radio was turned up to cover their screams. It's interesting to read of how the IRA "heroes" fared after the Good Friday Agreement. Resentment of Gerry Adams was high along with a feeling of loss that they had accomplished nothing. The Boston College interviews revealed a lot of "carefully scripted myths." Also, the move of Adams from committed terrorist to republican electoral process. Ironically, it may be Brexit that melds north and the Republic together.

A fascinating story that reveals who the actual killer was. The interview with O'Keefe cited below describes the process by which he discovered the killer's identity, who remains unpunished in spite of the efforts of Jean's children to get justice. With Brexit we may soon see the fruition of thirty years of border disputation. Or, it will result in more violence.

*"According to MacSwiney’s biographer, Dave Hannigan, a young Vietnamese man named Nguyen Tat Thanhn was working in the kitchen of a central London hotel at the time. Upon hearing the news of MacSwiney’s death, he burst into tears, saying “a country with a citizen like this will never surrender”. He returned to Vietnam, changed his name to Ho Chi Minh, and led the Vietnamese resistance movement for three decades, fighting Japanese and French imperialists and later the United States."

Interview with Patrick Keefe https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/brixton-remembers-one-of-ireland-s-most...

https://www.podbean.com/podcast-detail/q848u-53f12/The-Lawfare-Podcast ( )
  ecw0647 | Jul 31, 2020 |
This was everything I like in true crime and a good piece of narrative non-fiction to boot. It’s well-written, impeccably researched and cited, and manages to portray a very difficult and complicated subject even-handedly and with compassion for all sides. It also deals a lot with morality and ethics and generational pain and anger, carries the story up to a couple years ago, and asks questions about repercussions and statutes of limitations and reconciliation without answering them.

I didn’t know a lot about the Troubles going into this, just that it was a brutal and bloody and traumatic period of Northern Irish history, fought between Catholics/Republicans, Protestants/Unionists, and the British Army, and that there was a lot of distrust and paranoia that caused tensions to flare up again and again. I have a much better sense of the climate now, and the causes, and the ways of thinking in both the IRA and the Army, and have a whole new appreciation for how bad everything got.

Keefe focuses on a few key figures in the IRA, and to a lesser extent, on Jean McConville, who was disappeared, a handful of journalists and academics, and a man in the Army. You get a really good sense of these people as the story evolves, and he does that thing I love where you don’t get information until just the right time and yet the time jumps and digressions work with the story and not against it. This is also very much not a sensationalist or particularly biased piece of journalism. There are no heroes, no villains, no titillating facts, and no heavy foreshadowing.

I really liked that the story didn’t swing straight to solving the Jean McConville case once the Good Friday Agreement went into effect. Keefe continues to track the IRA people as they go their separate ways and try to deal (or not) with the terrible things they did and had done to them, as well as going into other court cases and academic attempts to document the era. McConville’s still there, as a sort of focus and example case, but really, he’s digging into the a much wider and more convoluted situation than just one crime and its resolution.

And as you can tell from me reading this in four days, it’s engagingly written and mildly addictive on top of everything! (Also my commute has sucked this week.) It hit exactly the right mix of grim and historical for me and is going to be the narrative non-fiction to beat for the year.

To bear in mind: If you don’t know what the Troubles involved, it was essentially a brutal guerilla war. Expect discussion of murder, torture, bombings, hunger strikes, jail sentences, dehumanization of the opposing side(s), and disappeared people, with a side of racism, religious bigotry, anti-colonial anger, and radical politics, among other things. There are also orphanages with systemic sexual abuse, one other glancing mention of molestation, and Margaret Thatcher.

9/10 ( )
  NinjaMuse | Jul 26, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patrick Radden Keefeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Archetti, StefanoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blaney, MatthewNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carella, MariaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Munday, OliverCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory.

-- Viet Thanh Nguyen
Dedication
TO LUCIAN AND FELIX
First words
JULY 2013

The John J. Burns Library occupies a grand neo-Gothic building on the leafy campus of Boston College.  (Prologue)
Jean McConville was thirty-eight when she disappeared, and she had spent nearly half of her life either pregnant or recovering from childbirth.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

""Meticulously reported, exquisitely written, and grippingly told, Say Nothing is a work of revelation." --David Grann, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville's children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress--with so many kids, McConville always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes. Patrick Radden Keefe's mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. From radical and impetuous I.R.A. terrorists--or volunteers, depending on which side one was on--such as Dolours Price, who, when she was barely out of her teens, was already planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution, to the ferocious I.R.A. mastermind known as The Dark, to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army, to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace and denied his I.R.A. past, betraying his hardcore comrades--Say Nothing conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish"--"A narrative about a notorious killing that took place in Northern Ireland during The Troubles and its devastating repercussions to this day"--

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

LibraryThing Author

Patrick Radden Keefe is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

profile page | author page

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.42)
0.5
1 1
1.5
2 1
2.5
3 7
3.5 9
4 86
4.5 30
5 99

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 150,716,296 books! | Top bar: Always visible