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The Provisional IRA: From Insurrection to Parliament Paperback – June 15, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0745330747 ISBN-10: 0745330746

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press (June 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745330746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745330747
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,586,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Tommy McKearney has advanced a series of arguments that are presented in an unambiguous manner. There is a strong sense of conviction and explanation in what he has written. The book is a reminder, whether agreeing with the arguments presented or otherwise, of the need for debate concerning the past, the present and the future. The unambiguous tone in which McKearney writes offers space for ongoing and detailed debate given his concern and dedication to  key theoretical questions." --Pete Shirlow, School of Law, Queen's University Belfast

About the Author

Tommy McKearney was a senior member of the Provisional IRA from the early 1970s until his arrest in 1977. Sentenced to life imprisonment, he served 16 years during which time he participated in the 1980 hunger strike in the Maze. He is now a freelance journalist and an organiser with the Independent Workers Union.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John L Murphy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
Books on the Provos, the dominant faction after the 1970s IRA split with their more Marxist comrades, tend to fall into two categories. Historians and academics tend towards heavily footnoted, analytical narratives; journalists from both Ireland and abroad combine equally footnoted but more anecdotal accounts gleaned from a life or a stint reporting from the heartland of the Troubles during which the contemporary IRA revived and roared, mostly within the Northern Irish province. What has been lacking from the growing shelf of studies are books which combine a journalist's verve with an historian's detachment.

This new book--so up-to-date that it covers the Irish Republic's elections spring 2011 after the Dublin government collapsed into debt and sought an EU bailout--comes from a former IRA member who served over a decade and a half in the maximum-security, brutally-run prison known to the British securocrats as the Maze and to the Irish republicans as Long Kesh. Tommy McKearney speaks from the position of an insider, although his own crucial contributions are nearly unacknowledged. He was part of the 1980 hunger strike even he makes no direct mention of volunteering for the first of the major hunger strikes that soon would bring worldwide attention to the plight of Republican prisoners "on the blanket".

The results, therefore, serve to offer an objective, almost clinical, view of IRA strategy and tactics.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By W. Denis Hanley on February 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a must have addition to the library of anyone studying Irish Republicanism. I would like to first comment on the Introduction by Paul Stewart. There is no bio information on Mr Stewart or his connection to Republicanism. While certainly not trying to slight Mr Stewart, I found his writing style difficult to follow and he lost me at several points. I'll leave it at that.

The book itself, written by Tommy McKearney tells the story of the conflict with such depth of realization of the political consequences and stark reality which I have not encountered in the numerous books in my collection. I cannot find reference to Mr McKearney's political education nor any degrees achieved. Which I find a bit odd.
His perceptiveness of the effects caused by the decisions made/not made/paths taken/not taken by all parties involved and their subsequent effects on the eventual outcome of the conflict can only be gleaned from the learned mind of someone who has lived through those times at close quarters.
I now have a better understanding of why the PIRA and Sinn Fein came to make the decisions they did. Right or wrong, premeditated or by destiny, Mr McKearney illuminates how the PIRA and Sinn Fein arrived where they are now, why they did not achieve all of what we and they expected and what the future may hold.
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