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1972: A Novel of Ireland's Unfinished…

1972: A Novel of Ireland's Unfinished Revolution

by Morgan Llywelyn

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Continuing about a decade after the conclusion of 1949, 1972 contines the Halloran family saga from Barry's point of view. Inspired by the stories his grandfather Ned had told him, the history of Ireland, and his mother's politics, Barry joins the IRA. He loves the comraderie of the army but the violence of the organization eventually leads him to try and find more peaceful solutions to the problem and he eventually becomes known for his photographs of the tragic situation. Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, inspired by the American Civil Rights movement the ordinary Catholics also try to find a peaceful solution. The movement was really gaining headway until that was all destroyed on an April day in 1972 when the British military herded a peace march into a warren of tiny streets and opened fire, with an order to shoot to kill. This day was immediately christened Bloody Sunday.

This is one of the best books in the series. While 1949 suffered from a lack of depth in the characterization of Ursala and those people who surrounded her, Barry was a wonderfully realized three dimensional character. As in the first three books, the knowledge and passion Llywelyn has for the Irish problem is vast. At times she almost seemed to devolve into a lecturing tone but before it could get too bad she would return to the storyline. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in modern history, or even those who just want to understand the meaning behind U2's song "Sunday Bloody Sunday." ( )
  Mootastic1 | Jan 15, 2016 |
1972 is a story of the IRA from the 1950s to the beginning of the troubles as seen through the experience of Barry Halloran, an IRA volunteer and the grandson of an iconic republican and IRA man. Barry goes on active service in “the army” at 17 and later becomes a bomb expert –with scruples however. He doesn’t want his bombs to kill anyone.

When the IRA is dormant he becomes a photographer and graduates from Trinity College. Barry is settling down to a more normal life and is about to get married when he goes to Derry to photograph the peaceful demonstration that turns into Bloody Sunday. The book ends with the question of whether the horrible experience of witnessing the massacre first hand is enough to propel Barry back into active service. ( )
  Hagelstein | Apr 11, 2015 |
With Ned off fighting for the Republic and Henry living in America, it is up to Ursula Halloran to take up the story of Ireland and her struggles for freedom in this newest edition to the Irish Century series.

After two years at a Swiss finishing school, Ursula arrives back at the home of Louise Hamilton determined to get a job at a radio station and become more heavily involved in Ireland’s quest to become a Republic.

Read the rest of the review on my blog: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/1949-a-novel-of-the-irish-free-state-morgan-llywelyn/ ( )
  ShouldIReadIt | Feb 18, 2015 |
Not sure what to say about this one as the subject matter is so heartbreaking. This is the fourth book of a five book series that started with the Easter Rising in 1916 and concludes with the final book in 1999. I ripped through the first three books five years ago but then had to wait for the remaining ones to be published. As usual with Morgan’s books, she is very thorough in the details of the background for her historical fiction, and I am learning more than I want too about the tragedy of mine own people. Hopefully knowledge is power but this is tragic knowledge. But the series has been a great read so far.
  jveezer | Jun 2, 2011 |
1972 continues Llywelyn's Irish Century series, begun with 1916. Much like the first three novels in this five-part series, Llywelyn intersperses the Halloran family story with well researched events from Irelands turbulent history. The parallel history provides 'mile-markers' for the broader historical context as the Halloran story continues. In "1972", Llywelyn seems to allow the historical to take the lead over the fictional; a trend which continues and increases in 1999, the last in the series. This makes for a complete and thorough telling of the story, but may not be as satisfying to readers who are less interested in history as they are in just hearing a good tale. "1972" has both, but the balance is shifted towards the factual.

This is primarily the story of Barry Halloran, the son of Ursula Halloran and heir to Ned Halloran's IRA allegience. But, be warned, this novel will draw you into Barry's life, and, once there, you will have to read the next book before most of the ghosts are laid to rest. As with the other novels in this series, Llywelyn demonstrates her storytelling abilities. The author creates engaging characters who move in and out of fascinating historical events. If you are a history buff, you'll enjoy every bit of this; if not, a little patience and you'll still enjoy the Halloran family story.

Os. ( )
  Osbaldistone | Mar 21, 2008 |
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In Memory of Marcella Curran and Eamonn MacThomas
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(Chapter One) The crack of the rifle splintered the frosty morning.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312878575, Hardcover)

The Irish Century series is the narrative of the epic struggle of the Irish people for independence through the tumultuous twentieth century. Morgan Llywelyn's magisterial multi-novel chronicle of that story began with 1916, continued in 1921 and 1949 and now continues with 1972.

In 1972, Morgan Llywelyn tells the story of Ireland from 1950-1972 as seen through the eyes of young Barry Halloran, son and grandson of Irish revolutionaries. Northern Ireland has become a running sore, poisoning life on both sides of the Irish border. Following family tradition, at eighteen Barry joins the Irish Republican Army to help complete what he sees as 'the unfinished revolution'.

But things are no longer as clear cut as they once were. His first experience of violence in Northern Ireland shocks and disturbs him. Yet he has found a sense of family in the Army which is hard to give up. He makes a partial break by becoming a photographer, visually documenting events in the north rather than physically taking part in them. An unhappy early love affair is followed by a tempestuous relationship with Barbara Kavanagh, a professional singer from America. Events lead Barry into a totally different life from the one he expected, yet his allegiance to the ideal of a thirty-two county Irish republic remains undimmed as the problems, and the violence, of Northern Ireland escalate. Then Barry finds himself in the middle of the most horrific event of all: Bloody Sunday in Derry, 1972.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:33 -0400)

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Barry Halloran finds his patriotic involvement with the IRA challenged by his newfound aversion to weapons, a belief he is forced to act upon in the face of escalating Irish Catholic oppression that culminates in the Bloody Sunday conflict.

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