Armed Struggle by Richard English
The History of the IRA

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Synopsis

The IRA has been a much richer, more complexly layered, and more protean organization than is frequently recognized. It is also more open to balanced examination now--at the end of its long war in the north of Ireland--than it was even a few years ago.
Richard English's brilliant book offers a detailed history of the IRA, providing invaluable historical depth to our understanding of the modern-day Provisionals, the more militant wing formed in 1969 dedicated to the removal of the British Government from Northern Ireland and the reunification of Ireland. English examines the dramatic events of the Easter Rising in 1916 and the bitter guerrilla war of 1919-21; the partitioning of Ireland in the 1920s and the Irish Civil War of 1922-23. Here, too are the IRA campaigns in Northern Ireland and Britain during the 1930s, 1940, 1950s and 1960s. He shows how the Provisionals were born out of the turbulence generated by the 1960s civil rights movement; examines the escalating violence; the introduction of British troops to the streets of Northern Ireland; the split in the IRA which produced the Provisionals; the introduction of internment in 1971 and the tragedy of Bloody Sunday in 1972. He then examines the struggle over political status, culminating in the Hunger Strikes of the early 1980s and moves on to describe the Provisionals' emergence as a more committed political force throughout that decade, a politicization that made possible the peace process that has developed over the last decade.
English offers a dazzling synthesis of the motives, actions and consequences of the IRA. Neither romanticizing the IRA nor condemning them out of hand, this is a balanced, definitive treatment of one of the world's leading revolutionary movements.
 

About Richard English

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RICHARD ENGLISH was born in Belfast in 1963. He is Professor of Politics at Queen's University, Belfast, and his previous books include Ernie O'Malley: IRA Intellectual (1998) and Radicals and the Republic: Socialist Republicanism in the Irish Free State 1925-1937 (1994). He lives in Belfast and Donegal.
 
Published August 7, 2003 by Oxford University Press. 520 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Armed Struggle

The Guardian

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Yet even after the IRA's most vaunted early success - the defence of the Catholic enclave of Short Strand, east Belfast in June 1970 - English points out that the IRA failed to defend the Catholic community in the city.

Apr 27 2003 | Read Full Review of Armed Struggle: The History o...

The Guardian

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Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA by Richard English 486pp, Oxford, £20 This history of the IRA comes at a time when the IRA is, one might think, history.

Mar 29 2003 | Read Full Review of Armed Struggle: The History o...

Publishers Weekly

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English (Ernie O'Malley: IRA Intellectual) emphasizes that the IRA has "courageously shifted ground" by accepting the concept of consent (i.e., that the island of Ireland won't be unified without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland), rather than continuing to pursue the violent reunific...

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