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Found 3 results

  1. I’m planning on reading more, trying to improve my intellectual level. But I don’t have all the time of the world. What are some good reads for that purpose? I accept all (non-fiction) genres: economics, politics, religion, history… I have already read “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins.
  2. So happy to finally join a forum like this. I read mostly non fiction, history, Presidential Memoirs, Political Most recent 3: "Lincoln" - David Herbert Donald "Seal Team Six" - Howard Wasdin "Courage and Consequence" - Karl Rove
  3. Before The Dawn - An Autobiography. By Gerry Adams Published by Mandarin, 1996. How does one review a book like this? I grew up in the cosy English Midlands in the 1960s and 70s when The Troubles began once more. It was oh-so-simple in my youth. Gerry Adams and his cronies were the baddies; the British government were the goodies - and the IRA were committing atrocities on an almost daily basis that seemed to have no motivation other than pure evil. Gerry Adams still provokes strong reactions. Even as I read this book in England in 2012, my partner and others reacted with apoplectic fury that I should read it yet alone believe any of it. But even in my childhood I always suspected that the black and white simplistic version of events as described by the British press were "a bit more complicated than that". And when Mrs Thatcher outlawed Mr Adams and others from talking on TV (depriving him of "the oxygen of publicity") I suspected this was the last gasp effort of a bullying government which had long since lost the argument. I also realised that the politics of Northern Ireland would be something I'd have to read more about one day. But where to start? I picked up the Gerry Adams autobiography because of the censorship. What did he have to say that was so terrible we shouldn't be allowed to hear it? And if he was in any way responsible for the atrocities how could he even start to justify them? My real fear, however, was getting my head round the tangled web of Northern Irish politics. Fortunately, whatever his faults, Mr Adams can at least write. And with Google sat beside me, the book was reasonably easy to read. For most part he writes well. On occasion his writing is terrifyingly powerful - but that may be because the events he's writing about are so devastating. And, it has to be said, at times his writing is superficial. Since we start with his childhood and work through to 1996, this autobiography does at least give one person's chronological view of the events in Northern Ireland and the reasons for them. "Oh so you do believe him" my partner would be saying at this point . No, I don't 'believe' every word he says but I'm interested in what he has to say about Bloody Sunday, Bloody Friday (it only gets two paragraphs - did I mention his writing was sometimes superficial?), the hunger strikes and so forth. This is a book that makes you ask questions. Did we really think it was a good idea to do away with trial by jury? would be one of my first questions. It makes you think and makes you want to understand the conflict from all points of view. This is the start of a journey for me and establishing 'facts' is probably going to be a pointless task. Who do I turn to for solid facts about Northern Ireland? Wikipedia? The Daily Mail? Gerry Adams? But hopefully by asking questions and seeking answers I can at least start to understand what brought on this madness - and why it has hopefully come to an end. Mr Adams was born into a society of inequality, which boiled over into frustration and anger. And then very quickly developed into an armed struggle that resulted in 3,600 deaths. That's tragic enough but if it could have been avoided by people talking (and listening) to each other it would be even more desperate. And what's particularly chilling is that soldiers on the streets, bombs, schools turned into military outposts, people being snatched from their homes, internment and trials without juries all happened in a society which, just a few years earlier, had been just like ours. How quickly civilisation can fall apart - and how long it takes to put it back together. This book may not provide many answers but it certainly asks a lot of questions. And that's no bad thing. - Alan Cleaver
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