Review: Keefe’s Say Nothing

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
Patrick Radden Keefe

Where to even start with this book? This is the story of the tragic murder of Jean McConville, a mother of ten who was taken from her home in the middle of the night. It’s also the story of the “troubles” in Northern Ireland, and the lives of those who fought in them. It’s the story of what happened to the soldiers (primarily on the Republican side) in the years that followed the Good Friday Agreement, how the troubles changed them, and in many cases, ruined them. It’s about a civil war that was fought, street by street, in a small city in the North of Ireland. It’s about journalists who promises they could never keep and about a families seeking closure after years of mystery.

At base, it’s a book about trauma and as someone who grew up surrounded by stories of Bobby Sands and the Easter Martyrs it was deeply affecting. Though not without its problems, this is probably the best book I’ve ever read on the Troubles, and trust me, I’ve read more than a few.


Review: Evan’s and Pollock’s Ireland for Beginners

Ireland for Beginners
Phil Evans and Eileen Pollock

A comic book telling of the history of Ireland. This is from the early days of the “beginners” series, when the books were still still crudely drawn and had a distinctly left political character. This one lets its politics show by being largely sympathetic to the Irish struggle for independence and towards those who used violence to help bring about that independence.

Recommended for the enthusiast.