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
`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, 25/3/00
`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.'
G. Owens, 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
`remarkable and frightening book ... This is a work of meticulous scholarship based on detailed examination of original sources, as well as oral testimony from survivors. But it is also one of those books that illuminate a much wider area than their seemingly narrow confines ... eye-opening for anyone who still believes in "cossetting" - or in non-sectarian republicanism.'
Geoffrey Wheatcroft, New Statesman & Society
Hart is intrigued by the menacing networks of loyalty and disloyalty and ideas of community in a time of violence. He works in detail, emphasizing the personal and the local. He has written, I think, an important sourcebook./Colm Toibin/ TLS 4/12/98
`magnificent first book ... Combining rigorous statistical research with passionate and beautiful writing, Peter Hart has produced a superb book which deserves nothing but the highest praise.'
Ben Novick, Christ Church College, Oxford University, History, Vol 84, no 275, July 1999