This is the story of the Black and Tans and Auxiliaries, the most notorious police forces in the history of the British Isles. During the Irish War of Independence (1920-1), the British government recruited thousands of ex-soldiers to serve as constables in the Royal Irish Constabulary, the Black and Tans, while also raising a paramilitary raiding force of ex-officers - the Auxiliary Division.
From the summer of 1920 to the summer of 1921, these forces became the focus of bitter controversy. As the struggle for Irish independence intensified, the police responded to ambushes and assassinations by the guerrillas with reprisals and extrajudicial killings. Prisoners and suspects were abused and shot, the homes and shops of their families and supporters were burned, and the British government was accused of imposing a reign of terror on Ireland.
Based on extensive archival research, this is the first serious study of the Black and Tans and Auxiliaries and the part they played in the Irish War of Independence. Dr Leeson examines the organization and recruitment of the British police, the social origins of police recruits, and the conditions in which they lived and worked, along with their conduct and misconduct once they joined the force, and their experiences and states of mind. For the first time, it tells the story of the Irish
conflict from the police perspective, while casting new light on the British government's responsibility for reprisals, the problems of using police to combat insurgents, and the causes of atrocities in revolutionary wars.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 626 g
Dimensions: 236 x 159 x 24 mm
...lifts the lid on a discreditable episode of recent British history and paves the way for future research. * Nigel Jones, History Today *
...careful analysis ... * Eunan O'Halpin, Irish Times *
While the Black and Tans served for less than two years, their disastrous deployment has lived long in Irish cultural memory. Through dispassionate research and fastidiously marshalled sources, D. M. Leeson undermines many enduring misapprehensions that still surround this most controversial of police forces. * Peter Geoghegan, Times Literary Supplement *
A fresh, often exciting narrative that convinces the reader that there has indeed been a distortion in the general image of the men in these two forces...The Black and Tans will repay close reading by anyone interested in those savage years of the Irish War of Independence, when trust was hard to come by and brotherhood a flexible term for many involved in the horrors. Leeson has convincingly questioned a great deal of received opinion, and probed the way it
was received in the first place. * Stephen Wade, Times Higher Education *