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Say nothing : a true story of murder and memory in Northern Ireland
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One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year






"Masked intruders dragged Jean McConville, a 38-year-old widow and mother of 10, from her Belfast home in 1972. In this meticulously reported book -- as finely paced as a novel -- Keefe uses McConville's murder as a prism to tell the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Interviewing people on both sides of the conflict, he transforms the tragic damage and waste of the era into a searing, utterly gripping saga." - New York Times Book Review, Ten Best Books of the Year

From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions

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--with so many kids, she had always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes.

Patrick Radden Keefe's mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. From radical and impetuous I.R.A. terrorists such as Dolours Price, who, when she was barely out of her teens, was already planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution, to the ferocious I.R.A. mastermind known as The Dark, to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army, to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace but betrayed his hardcore comrades by denying his I.R.A. past-- Say Nothing conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish.
Trade Reviews
Booklist Review
Keefe, a New Yorker staff writer, uses the abduction of a widow and mother of 10 children, ranging in age from 20 to 6, from their squalid Belfast apartment in 1972, as the entry point for a deep-diving history of the conflict in Northern Ireland and its immense aftershocks. The secrecy that fueled all aspects of the conflict is emphasized throughout, starting with the prologue, in which Keefe details how detectives from the Northern Ireland Police search the Boston College Library in 2013 for secret files relating to the murder of Jean McConville, the long-ago abducted woman. Keefe spent four years researching this book, traveling seven times to Northern Ireland and conducting more than 100 interviews. The book is an extensive and often wrenching view of this bloody patch of history, especially fascinating in the way Keefe shows how indoctrination worked at the family level. While he identifies it as narrative nonfiction, the writing here is more straight historical account, rather than an immersive exploration, but it will definitely draw those interested in the Irish ""Troubles.""--Connie Fletcher Copyright 2010 Booklist
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Table of Contents
Prologue The Treasure Roomp. 1
Book 1The Clear, Clean, Sheer Thing
Chapter 1An Abductionp. 7
Chapter 2Albert's Daughtersp. 10
Chapter 3Evacuationp. 24
Chapter 4An Underground Armyp. 36
Chapter 5St. Jude's Walkp. 52
Chapter 6The Dirty Dozenp. 57
Chapter 7The Little Brigadierp. 67
Chapter 8The Cracked Cupp. 81
Chapter 9Orphansp. 95
Chapter 10The Fredsp. 100
Book 2Human Sacrifice
Chapter 11Close England!p. 115
Chapter 12The Belfast Tenp. 131
Chapter 13The Toy Salesmanp. 143
Chapter 14The Ultimate Weaponp. 148
Chapter 15Captivesp. 162
Chapter 16A Clockwork Dollp. 176
Chapter 17Field Dayp. 186
Chapter 18The Bloody Envelopep. 195
Chapter 19Blue Ribbonsp. 209
Book 3A Reckoning
Chapter 20A Secret Archivep. 223
Chapter 21On the Ledgep. 234
Chapter 22Toutsp. 244
Chapter 23Bog Queenp. 257
Chapter 24An Entanglement of Liesp. 267
Chapter 25The Last Gunp. 280
Chapter 26The Mystery Radiop. 292
Chapter 27The Boston Tapesp. 298
Chapter 28Death by Misadventurep. 310
Chapter 29This Is the Pastp. 324
Chapter 30The Unknownp. 339
Acknowledgmentsp. 351
A Note On Sourcesp. 355
Notesp. 357
Selected Bibliographyp. 423
Indexp. 429
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