Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland (Paperback)Patrick Radden Keefe (author)
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Say Nothing presents the disappearance of a mother of ten in 1970s Belfast as a microcosm of the grueling Northern Irish troubles as a whole. Keefe condemns a culture of silence and blind sectarian loyalty for exacerbating the sufferings of ordinary people, in this vitally important and brave slice of investigative journalism.
Winner of the Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2019
One night in December 1972, Jean McConville, a mother of ten, was abducted from her home in Belfast and never seen alive again. Her disappearance would haunt her orphaned children, the perpetrators of this terrible crime and a whole society in Northern Ireland for decades.
In this powerful, scrupulously reported book, Patrick Radden Keefe offers not just a forensic account of a brutal crime but a vivid portrait of the world in which it happened. The tragedy of an entire country is captured in the spellbinding narrative of a handful of characters, presented in lyrical and unforgettable detail.
A poem by Seamus Heaney inspires the title: `Whatever You Say, Say Nothing'. By defying the culture of silence, Keefe illuminates how a close-knit society fractured; how people chose sides in a conflict and turned to violence; and how, when the shooting stopped, some ex-combatants came to look back in horror at the atrocities they had committed, while others continue to advocate violence even today.
Say Nothing deftly weaves the stories of Jean McConville and her family with those of Dolours Price, the first woman to join the IRA as a front-line soldier, who bombed the Old Bailey when barely out of her teens; Gerry Adams, who helped bring an end to the fighting, but denied his own IRA past; Brendan Hughes, a fearsome IRA commander who turned on Adams after the peace process and broke the IRA's code of silence; and other indelible figures. By capturing the intrigue, the drama and the profound human cost of the Troubles, the book presents a searing chronicle of the lengths that people are willing to go to in pursuit of a political ideal, and the ways in which societies mend - or don't - in the aftermath of a long and bloody conflict.
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Number of pages: 528
Weight: 460 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 40 mm
'Keefe's gripping account of the Troubles is equal parts true-crime, history, and tragedy. His incisive reporting reveals the hidden costs of the Troubles, illuminating both the terrible toll of the conflict, and how it continues to reverberate today. A must read.' - Gillian Flynn
'Patrick Radden Keefe uses the old Irish phrase, "Whatever you say, say nothing", to suggest and to say just about everything. His great accomplishment is to capture the tragedy of the Troubles on a human scale. A bracing, empathetic, heartrending work of storytelling.' - Colum McCann
'Meticulously reported, exquisitely written and grippingly told, this is a work of revelation. Keefe not only peels back, layer by layer, the truth behind one of the most important and mysterious crimes of a terrible conflict; he also excavates the history of the Troubles and illuminates its repercussions to this day.' - David Grann
'Smart, searching and utterly absorbing, `Say Nothing' sweeps us into the heart of one of the modern world's bitterest conflicts and, with unusual compassion, walks us back out again along the road to reconciliation. This is more than a powerful, superbly reported work of journalism. It is contemporary history at its finest.' - Maya Jasanoff
'Patrick Radden Keefe has the rare ability to convey an intimate story that powerfully illuminates a much larger one. He brilliantly represents the menace and intrigue that devastated Belfast and shows the course of ordinary lives headed towards inevitable and awful collision. By turns gripping and profoundly revelatory, Say Nothing shines a brighter light on Northern Ireland's tragic past than any history book.' Scott Anderson
'A shattering, intimate study of how young men and women consumed by radical political violence are transformed by the history they make, and struggle to come to terms with the blood they have shed, Say Nothing is a powerful reckoning. An essential.' - Philip Gourevitch