Say Nothing

Say Nothing

A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

Book - 2019
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"In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville's children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress."--
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, [2019]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385521314
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 Ir47K 2019
Characteristics: xii, 441 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Apr 12, 2021

If you've wondered why "The Troubles" happened, or why there is still unrest currently Ireland, this is the book to read. Balanced.

Feb 11, 2021

Very thoroughly researched. The content and writing is not too hard to understand for someone who don't know the backstory. Captivating story. Highly recommended.

Dec 09, 2020

Well-researched and riveting, Say Nothing looks at the disappearance and murder of Jean McConville, a single mother of ten, during the height of "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland. Unforgettable!

PimaLib_ChristineR Nov 16, 2020

Three words: Read. This. Book.

I will admit that modern Irish history has been of interest to me for a long time and I've read more than one book on the subject, but even if you've never even heard of The Troubles, even if you don't usually read non-fiction, even if you don't care for history: Read. This. Book.

Keefe begins Say Nothing with the personal. We find out about Jean McConville, her husband's death leaving her to raise ten children in a rotting public housing tower, until one day her neighbors come to take her away in a car and she never comes home again. The mystery of Jean's disappearance is the central thread holding the narrative together, but as we dive further into the book, Keefe uses the introduction of our second character, Dolours Price, as a way to widen the scope, because without at least some understanding of The Troubles, there is no way to explain Jean's disappearance.

Riveting and extraordinary, touching on the the ties to the US civil rights movement all the way to Brexit, Keefe makes sense of a period in history that other writers have only approached. He also goes beyond telling the story, looking at why the peace process after the Troubles has only partially fixed relations in the North, and the long-term effects the fighting had on the bodies and minds of the participants. In the end, Keefe leaves us with a good idea of what happened to Jean, from who called the shots, to who pulled the trigger, but in a country where everyone has been told to "say nothing" there's a good chance we may never know the full truth.

Oct 26, 2020

A good book to read and most informative on the history of the troubles period and history behind Northern Ireland

LPL_IanS Sep 24, 2020

I typically shy away from true crime, but I made an exception for this history of Northern Ireland’s "Troubles" and I’m glad I did. Say Nothing is a riveting and complex look at several of the figures at the heart of the affair. For Irish authenticity listen to the audiobook.

Aug 25, 2020

An extremely good book for any person who is interested in '' the Troubles'' and their legacy.

Aug 17, 2020

An engrossing account of the conflict in Northern Ireland-The Troubles-and its far-reaching impact on those involved. This is much more than a mother-gone-missing story. The author does a deep dive into everything from the long-simmering hatreds between different parties that fueled The Troubles, living conditions in Irish orphanages managed by religious orders, and looks into the driven personalities that led the Irish Republican Army.

Highly recommended; for those who've witnessed peaceful protest devolve into violence and chaos this book will resonate.

Aug 08, 2020

Superb book. More plot twists than a good British thriller. It tells the story of "The Troubles," the guerilla war in Ireland in the latter part of the 20th century, focusing on the Provisional IRA and the murder of Jean McConville. The futility of violence is powerfully illustrated in this sad tale of wasted youth and idealism.

Jul 20, 2020

Ireland is near the top of my travel wishlist but I’m shamed to admit I’m not that familiar with Irish history (I’m 100% not Irish in any way). Say Nothing is part murder mystery, part narrative history of Northern Ireland and part treatise on memory and record keeping. This book is superb and captivating. I read it all in four days and the story told has stayed with me. I would highly recommend it to anyone. I also recommend reading end page about how the notes were complied because it adds so much context to the story.

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PimaLib_ChristineR Nov 16, 2020

“Outbreeding Unionists may be an enjoyable pastime for those who have the energy,” Adams once remarked. “But it hardly amounts to a political strategy.”

PimaLib_ChristineR Nov 16, 2020

How will the truth of what really happened during the Troubles ever come out, he asked, if the authorities file murder charges against anyone who has the nerve to talk about it?

PimaLib_ChristineR Nov 16, 2020

The anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss once observed that, “for the majority of the human species, and for tens of thousands of years, the idea that humanity includes every human being on the face of the earth does not exist at all. The designation stops at the border of each tribe...

PimaLib_ChristineR Nov 16, 2020

Fearful, perhaps, of his powers of ideological seduction, the Thatcher government imposed a peculiar restriction, “banning” the IRA and Sinn Féin from the airwaves. What this meant in practice was that when Adams appeared on television, British broadcasters were prevented, by law, from transmitting the sound of his voice. His image could be shown, and the content of his speech could be conveyed, but his voice could not be heard. So broadcasters devised a work-around that was practical, if also slightly ridiculous: when Adams appeared on television, an actor would dub his voice.

PimaLib_ChristineR Nov 16, 2020

Humphrey Atkins and Thatcher had been wrong when they speculated that among the ten strikers there must be at least one weak link. After Sands died, another nine followed, starving to death one by one throughout that summer.

PimaLib_ChristineR Nov 16, 2020

A fresh-faced, headstrong young IRA prisoner organized cultural classes. He wrote poetry and would become the official press officer for the republican prisoners. His name was Bobby Sands.

PimaLib_ChristineR Nov 16, 2020

Force-feeding was a controversial practice that had been used on another group of unruly women, the British suffragettes. After being force-fed in Holloway Prison in 1913, one of the suffragettes, Sylvia Pankhurst, called it torture, noting that “infinitely worse than any pain was the sense of degradation.”

PimaLib_ChristineR Nov 16, 2020

A subsequent investigation by the British government found that some of the interrogation techniques used against the so-called Hooded Men constituted criminal assault. But in a controversial 1978 decision, the European Court of Human Rights held that the techniques, while “inhuman and degrading,” did not amount to torture. (In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when the American administration of George W. Bush was fashioning its own “enhanced interrogation” techniques, officials relied explicitly on this decision to justify the use of torture.)

PimaLib_ChristineR Nov 16, 2020

McGuigan and his fellow detainees were stripped naked and examined by a doctor, then subjected to a series of procedure that were classified, in the army’s euphemistic bureaucratese, as “interrogation in depth.” For days, the prisoners were deprived of food, water, and sleep and made to stand for long periods in stress positions, their vision negated by the hoods over their heads. They were also subjected to piercing, high-pitched noises. The British had learned these techniques by studying the experiences of soldiers who were held as prisoners of war by the Nazis or by the North Koreans and the Chinese during the Korean War.

PimaLib_ChristineR Nov 16, 2020

He reportedly quipped, of locking people up without trial, “It’s better than killing them.”

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