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A Secret History of the IRA (Penguin, 2002; 2007) by award-winning journalist Ed Moloney. In The Blanket, an on-line journal, reviewer Liam O Ruairc described the book as potentially "the standard if not the definitive work on the history of the Provisional IRA." [1] Eamonn McCann, in The Nation, commented that it was "the best book yet" written on the Provisional IRA as it traced the rise of the Provos from the burning out of Catholic neighborhoods in Belfast in August 1969 to "the enclosure of the movement's leadership within conventional bourgeois politics through the Good Friday Agreement of 1998" (Belfast Agreement).[2]

A central theme in the book is the role that Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has played in the Irish Republican Movement. In his review, O Ruairc noted that the book could have been "better titled A Secret History of Gerry Adams." [3] In the Sunday Business Post Online, reviewer Tom McGurk, in a reference to the strategy articulated by Danny Morrison at the 1981 Sinn Fein Ard-Fheis, wrote that the book "grippingly" detailed Adams's struggle to move from the Armalite to the ballot box "without a split and without bodies in ditches."[4]

The book was met with controversy because of some of the revelations it contains. And those revelations reveal both a strength and weakness, in that some of Moloney's sources were willing to speak in great detail but with the caveat that they remain confidential.[5]

Table of Contents[6]

List of Maps

Preface to the second edition

Preface to the first edition



Part One: The Dogs of War

   One: Roots
   Two: The Defenders
   Three: The Big Lad

Part Two: Taking on the Old Guard

   Four: Cage 11
   Five: "Our Dreyfus"
   Six: A Long, Hot Summer

Part Three: A Secret Process

   Seven: "Behind the Scenes"
   Eight: Dealing with the Brits
   Nine: "Stepping Stones"
   Ten: "No Idle Boast"
   Eleven: Death in Tyrone
   Twelve: "The War of the Twilight"
   Thirteen: The Derry Experiment

Part Four: Ending the War

   Fourteen: Seven Men in a Room
   Fifteen: Cease-Fire
   Sixteen: The Sos
   Seventeen: Point of No Return
   Eighteen: The End Begins
   Nineteen: The Midas Touch
   Twenty: The Last Kalishnakov
   Epilogue: "Turning the Titanic in a Bathtub"

Appendix 1: Special Sinn Féin Ard Comhairle Meeting, April 12, 1980

Appendix 2: TUAS Document - Summer 1994

Appendix 3: Post-1996 Convention IRA Constitution

Appendix 4: IRA Executive Chairman Seamus McGrane's Speech at the 1997 Convention

Appendix 5: IRA Chiefs of Staff

Appendix 6: The Mitchell Principles

Appendix 7: Letter from Father Alex Reid to Charles Haughey, May 11, 1987

Appendix 8: "Concrete Proposals" and "Stepping Stones": two undated documents by Father Alec Reid

Appendix 9: IRA Statement Ending its Armed Campaign against Britain, July 28, 2005


Chronology of Events

Dramatis Personae

Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations

Chart of IRA Structure




  1. ^ Liam O Ruairc, "Disturbing Secrets," review appearing in the online journal The Blanket, March 18, 2003
  2. ^ Eamonn McCann, The Nation, November 2002.
  3. ^ Liam O Ruairc, "Disturbing Secrets," review appearing in the online journal The Blanket, March 18, 2003.
  4. ^ Tom McGurk, "Three Words that Led from Armalite to Ballot Box," The Sunday Business Post Online, October 6, 2002.
  5. ^ "A Secret History of the IRA," Niall Stanage, The Sunday Business Post Online, October 6, 2002.
  6. ^ From the second edition.

External links


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