What is it like to be in the I.R.A., to fight them, or to be at their mercy? This book explores the lives, deaths, enemies, and victims of the most powerful guerrillas of twentieth-century Ireland: those of the Cork I.R.A. between 1916 and 1923. Drawing on an unprecedented body of sources, including numerous interviews this is a uniquely intimate study of revolution, guerrilla war, and ethnic conflict. - ;What is it like to be in the I.R.A. - or at their mercy? This fascinating study explores the lives and deaths of the enemies and victims of the County Cork I.R.A. between 1916 and 1923 - the most powerful and deadly branch of the I.R.A. during one of the most turbulent periods in twentieth-century Ireland.
These years saw the breakdown of the British legal system and police authority, the rise of republican violence, and the escalation of the conflict into a full-scale guerilla war, leading to a wave of riots, ambushes, lootings, and reprisal killings, with civilians forming the majority of victims in this unacknowledged civil war.
Religion may have provided the starting point for the conflict, but class prejudice, patriotism, and personal grudges all fuelled the development and continuation of widespread violence. Using an unprecedented range of sources - many of them only recently made public - Peter Hart explores the motivation behind such activity. His conclusions not only reveal a hidden episode of Ireland's troubled past but provide valuable insights into the operation of similar terrorist groups today. - ;Irish historians have written extensively about the "Troubles" of 1916-23, but few have done so as masterfully or with as much originality as Hart ... an illuminating, often gripping account that students of modern history, politics, and sociology will find immensely useful. - Choice;Hart writes with sensitivity, sociological insight and, when necessary, controlled passion ... An instant classic. - Roy Foster, Spectator;Peter Hart has produced a study which, for exploitation of sources and for disciplined and multifaceted analysis, stands comparison with Charles Townshend's The British Campaign in Ireland 1919-1921 (1975) ... he has set a standard of forensic documentary research which other historians, whether those preparing local studies of the Irish revolution, or those rushing to the defence of the good name of Cork Republicanism, may conceivably emulate but will surely not
surpass. - Eunan O'Halpin, Times Literary Supplement;Winner of the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize for 1998 - ;Hart has written a book worthy of the widest readership among those interested not only in the history of armed revolution but in the history of collective and individual violence in troubled times. - Crime, History & Societies;Hart's book contributes immensely to our understanding of the generation of civil war through a methodology that deserves replication in studies of violence in other areas of social life. The historical sensitivity of his account is captured in his depiction of the background culture in which this violence developed. - Crime, History & Societies;Hart's study is a model of reconstruction of the forces on both sides, the events, the resources, the strategies, the toll and the destruction ... the richest dimension of the book lies in its excavation of mentalities and perceptions of those who became able to kill in the cause of independence, and of their victims. - Crime, History & Societies;Outstanding excavation of the ground-level struggles of a war of independence ... Only an assiduous historian like Hart can document so persuasively the extent of misinformation, anxiety, fear that pervades civil conflict and renders it murderous. - Crime, History & Societies;Brilliant book. - Paul Bew, Spectator;A superb, multi-layered history of the "intimate war" of this dark, iconic period in Cork ... a vivid deeply affecting book. - Mic Moroney, The Irish Times