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God and the Gun: The Church and Irish Terrorism Paperback – March 18, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0415923637 ISBN-10: 0415923638 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1st edition (March 18, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415923638
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415923637
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,769,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Journalist Dillon covered Northern Ireland for the BBC for 18 years and published a trilogy in Ireland on "The Troubles," now being released in this country in paperback (God and the Gun; The Shankill Butchers; The Dirty War, Routledge, 1999). In God and the Gun, Dillon interviewed Protestant and Catholic terrorists to discern whether this is a religious war or one of economics and class. Aside from IRA "sources," Dillon interviewed the late Billy Wright, a.k.a. "King Rat," a notorious Protestant assassin killed by the IRA in prison in 1997. He also talked with Protestant terrorist Kenny McClinton and Father Pat Buckley, who admitted breaking the seal of the confessional to save lives on both sides. Some of Dillon's subjects answer directly, others quaver. There are many passages that make the book poignant and ironic as Dillon concludes that what should have been a civil rights struggle was manipulated into a religious war. He bogs down a bit at the end, reciting history to put his story in context, but this is still essential for all Irish history collections.ARobert C. Moore, Raytheon Electronic Sys., Sudbury, MA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

...facinating....
–Baltimore Sun

...several good books within its covers.
USA Today

...likely to become the reference work on the subject.
Washington Times

An important work, containing interviews and material as disturbing as they are significant.
The Irish Times

Martin Dillon is the greatest living authority on Irish terrorism.
–Conor Cruise O'Brien

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on September 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Martin Dillon brings the history of the Irish "Troubles" as close as he can without the reader actually participating with him in his interviews. The interviews he shares, together with the balanced personal perspective he offers, presents the reader with one of the clearer explanations of the conflict, the participants, and their motives, that I have read. This book is of manageable length, for more detailed documentation of the various political groups and their leaders; Mr. Dillon's friend Mr. Timothy Patrick Coogan is the definitive reference.
The most unusual aspect of the book were interviews he conducted with Catholic Priests, and the role they are at times forced, at gunpoint, under threat of death, to perform. There will be a knock at the door; they will then be taken to a victim who has usually been brutalized, and then given a few minutes to hear the man's final words prior to his being executed. Add to this that there are times the victims are members of the Priest's Church, and you have both a personal and an ecclesiastical torture for these Priests. Ministers of the Protestant Faith, who attempt to bring sanity to these conflicts, are relocated out of Ireland to stop their interference and protect their safety.
On the other end of the spectrum there are clergy on both sides whose conduct disqualifies them from their roles as representatives of the Church, and places them in the same column as the terrorists they support/protect.
When the results of violence are shown in the news, the tendency is often to dehumanize the individuals who perpetrate such violence. Mr.
Read more ›
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 8, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As a television correspondent traveling to Northern Ireland just before marching season, I covered several references. I used "God and the Gun" as the primary source for my trip. Only someone as thorough a journalist as Martin Dillon could direct readers into one of the world's most lasting, if not bizarre, geopolitical campaigns of terror draped in religion. It's in straightforward, sometimes blunt language that stirs up your stomach. Because of the real fear and disturbing acts of premeditated violence on the Emerald Isle, "God and the Gun" is similar to a nightly national newscast in the U.S., except there are no pictures for the horrifying words from the interviews and accounts contained within. Much like Thomas L. Friedman's "From Beirut to Jerusalem," Martin Dillon connects historical occurrences to recent outbreaks of destruction, thuggery and wanton killings. For the casual observer, reporter or person of faith who wants a significant study of flashpoints for trouble, "God and the Gun" is a work to read. It has stories from an author who has lived amidst the day-to-day tensions for 18 years. His words will leave you wanting to tell someome else what you discovered about The Troubles. "God and the Gun" takes you where no movie has on the subject of Northern Ireland -- into the minds, hearts and deeds of clergy and lay people. This is what the Irish have known for centuries: religion and politics are a volatile combination.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The best book published recently on the Irish conflict. It provides not only a profound insight of the Irish political situation interwoven with religion and terrorism but is also highly readable.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this work, Martin Dillon explores the role of religion in the war in Northern Ireland. He not only looks at the actions of the Protestant and Catholic churches, but also how religion influenced specific, influential members of the conflict like Billy "King Rat" Wright and Ian Paisley. Dillon is interested in both sides of the sectarian divide and interviews both Protestants and Catholics who participated in the fighting. Of particular interest is Dillon's look at the religious conversion of convicted men from the paramilitaries and how Protestant trigger men were more likely to convert than their Catholic IRA foes. I also found particularly fascinating the interviews with Catholic priests -who gave last rites to informants about to be executed by the IRA - and their inner turmoil after being involved in such a grisly act. This is a unique, fast paced work that brings an interesting perspective to the Troubles. A must read.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
Dr Conor Cruise O'Brien has described the author, Martin Dillon, as 'the greatest living authority on Irish terrorism'. If he ever was, he has since lost his touch. His previous works have been well-received, particularly The Shankill Butchers, Stone Cold and Killer in Clowntown. Since leaving Ulster, however, he seems to have lost his way. His last book on the Provisional IRA, The Enemy Within, was inferior sensationalist stuff.In God and the Gun, Dillon claims to look at the role of the Church and 'Irish terrorism'. In this task he fails utterly. This is not to say that the book is uninteresting. Despite its many faults, and elementary errors of fact, it is - in parts - a gripping read.The conflict in Ulster has been primarily one of nationality but it is impossible to ignore its 'religious' dimension. Ulsterfolk have not been fighting a theological battle but everyone's religious upbringing and background colours their outlook on the situation. Many of the main paramilitary players in both republican and loyalist groups are regular worshippers - 'good Christians' despite having committed some horrendous atrocities over the past thirty years. Dillon has met and interviewed notable Protestant and Catholic paramilitary activists and former activists to try and understand how the manage to reconcile killing with their Christian convictions. Most fascinating was the testimony of Billy Wright who went on to form the Loyalist Volunteer Force splinter group. Billy Wright was later to die in Long Kesh prison at the hands of INLA fellow-prisoners.Wright has been involved with the Young Citizen Volunteers as a teenager. He was imprisoned on arms and hijacking charges in 1977 and soon after his release was again held in custody on the testimony of the 'supergrass' Clifford McKeown.Read more ›
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