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Say Nothing
Cover of Say Nothing
Say Nothing
A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year

BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR - TIME MAGAZINE
ONE OF THE BEST 10 BOOKS OF THE YEAR - WASHINGTON POST
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST
WINNER OF THE ORWELL PRIZE
LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
"Masked intruders dragged Jean McConville, a 38-year-old widow and mother of 10, from her Belfast home in 1972. In this meticulously reported book — as finely paced as a novel — Keefe uses McConville's murder as a prism to tell the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Interviewing people on both sides of the conflict, he transforms the tragic damage and waste of the era into a searing, utterly gripping saga." - New York Times Book Review, Ten Best Books of the Year
From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions

In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville's children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress—with so many kids, she had always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes.
Patrick Radden Keefe's mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. From radical and impetuous I.R.A. terrorists such as Dolours Price, who, when she was barely out of her teens, was already planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution, to the ferocious I.R.A. mastermind known as The Dark, to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army, to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace but betrayed his hardcore comrades by denying his I.R.A. past—Say Nothing conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish.
One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year

BEST NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR - TIME MAGAZINE
ONE OF THE BEST 10 BOOKS OF THE YEAR - WASHINGTON POST
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST
WINNER OF THE ORWELL PRIZE
LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
"Masked intruders dragged Jean McConville, a 38-year-old widow and mother of 10, from her Belfast home in 1972. In this meticulously reported book — as finely paced as a novel — Keefe uses McConville's murder as a prism to tell the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Interviewing people on both sides of the conflict, he transforms the tragic damage and waste of the era into a searing, utterly gripping saga." - New York Times Book Review, Ten Best Books of the Year
From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions

In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville's children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress—with so many kids, she had always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes.
Patrick Radden Keefe's mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. From radical and impetuous I.R.A. terrorists such as Dolours Price, who, when she was barely out of her teens, was already planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution, to the ferocious I.R.A. mastermind known as The Dark, to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army, to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace but betrayed his hardcore comrades by denying his I.R.A. past—Say Nothing conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish.
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  • From the cover Book Two

    Human Sacrifice

    11

    Close England!

    THE CROCUSES WERE ALREADY in bloom around London's parks and monuments on March 8, 1973. It was a Thursday, a crisp, crystalline early-spring morning. After a wet English winter, people were venturing outdoors, beckoned by the sun. The Queen left Buckingham Palace to inspect the first blooms in her garden. There was a transit strike that day, and with train service suspended, commuters were forced to drive into the city. As a result, central London was overrun with automobiles. In order to accommodate the surge of vehicles, the city had suspended parking restrictions for the day. Cars were everywhere—in loading zones and other areas that were usually off-limits, or at meters that had long since expired.

    Just after lunchtime, at around 2 p.m., a phone rang at the headquarters of The Times of London. A young woman named Elizabeth Curtis, who had just started working on the news desk at the paper, picked up the call. She heard a man's voice, speaking very quickly, with a thick Irish accent. At first she couldn't make out what he was saying, then she realized that he was reeling off the descriptions and locations of a series of cars. He spoke for just over a minute, and, though she was still confused, she transcribed as much as she could. Before hanging up, the man said, "The bombs will go off in one hour."

    A journalist named Martin Huckerby was on duty that day in the newsroom. He overheard Curtis dictating details about the bombs to one of her colleagues. The nearest of the locations she mentioned was the Old Bailey, the central criminal court in London, just a short walk from The Times. Huckerby bolted out of the office. He was looking for a green Ford Cortina Estate with a license plate that, assuming Curtis had transcribed it correctly, read YNS 649K. Huckerby left the office at 2 p.m. and arrived at the monumental stone courthouse a few minutes later. Built at the turn of the century, the Old Bailey had been the site of many celebrated trials. A great dome sat atop the heavy masonry, with a bronze figure of Justice, her arms outstretched, holding a sword and a set of scales.

    Dozens of cars were parked around the building, and Huckerby began checking them to see if he could find the Cortina. Before long, he spotted it, parked right in front of the courthouse: a green Cortina Estate with the license plate YFN 469K, close enough to what he was looking for that he was sure this was it. Peering through the glass at the car's interior, he saw a pair of black gloves on the floor and an aerosol can. Huckerby waited for the police to come, and eventually, after what seemed like an eternity, two uniformed officers arrived at 2:33 and inspected the Cortina. They started evacuating people in the area, cordoning off the road. Huckerby took cover in a doorway, about twenty-five yards from the Cortina, and waited.



    The plan to bring the bombing campaign to England had been, at least in part, Dolours Price's idea. The IRA had detonated hundreds of bombs in commercial centers throughout Northern Ireland. If the goal was to cripple the economy, this effort had been a success. But the collateral damage was considerable. For civilians in Northern Ireland, whether Catholic or Protestant, the routine bombings could make life impossible: suddenly you were taking your life into your hands when you went to the shop for a dozen eggs. It might not have been the intention of the IRA to create civilian casualties, but there were civilian casualties, lots of them, and they were borne by Catholics and Protestants alike. Bloody Friday was an especially grave debacle, but it was hardly...
About the Author-
  • PATRICK RADDEN KEEFE is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of The Snakehead and Chatter. His work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Slate, New York, and The New York Review of Books. He received the 2014 National Magazine Award for Feature Writing, for his story "A Loaded Gun," was a finalist for the National Magazine Award for Reporting in 2015 and 2016, and is also the recipient of an Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellowship at the New America Foundation and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Matthew Blaney carefully takes listeners through a history of "The Troubles" in Ireland to explain the complicated and tragic murder of Jean McConville. In this period of great turmoil, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) fought with guerrilla tactics to try to free Northern Ireland from British rule. During this time, a widow with 10 children was taken from her bed and disappeared. Blaney's gentle Irish accent helps listeners endure some of the more horrifying details of violence perpetrated by the IRA and helps direct the listener through a murder investigation that took decades to solve and that led detectives all the way to Boston. Blaney's sober voice is measured and careful, highlighting the subject matter even as he delivers a powerful performance. V.B. � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Say Nothing
Say Nothing
A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
Patrick Radden Keefe
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