A Secret History of the IRA

Updated 12 April 2018
0

A Secret History of the IRA

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, the peace deal that ended 30 years of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland.

The agreement between the British and Irish governments, and the main political parties of Northern Ireland, remains a benchmark for countries across the world seeking to end civil wars. In a period of turmoil across the Middle East and Asia, it also serves as a valuable lesson that groups considered “terrorists” often end up being negotiated with.

“A Secret History of the IRA,” by Irish journalist Ed Moloney, is a stunning piece of journalism that looks in detail at the lives of some of the IRA’s leading members and examines how and why they were finally persuaded to make peace.

Among the book’s many remarkable chapters is a section looking at the tragic case of Jean McConville, a mother of 10 who became one of the “disappeared” when she was kidnapped and shot dead by the group in 1972.


Book review: 'Sapiens': A brief history of Humankind

Updated 17 April 2018
0

Book review: 'Sapiens': A brief history of Humankind

In terms of scope and ambition, Yuval Harari’s aim to offer a “Brief History of Humankind” can’t be topped. But, over 512 pages, that is exactly what the historian and academic does — and with verve and skill.
“Sapiens” tells the story of how we — humankind — transformed ourselves from insignificant apes to the most dominant species on the planet.
Harari covers a lot of ground at pace in a loosely chronological way, taking up broad themes and ideas, and resisting the temptation to bombard the reader with facts and statistics. Instead, he offers thrilling arguments and challenging theories.
The book seeks an answer to the age-old question: “Why has humankind become the most influential species on Earth?” while also revealing the problems and solutions we have created both for ourselves and the rest of nature.
“Sapiens” is as fascinating as it is provocative — one theory is that wheat is the dominant life form on the planet. Well thought-out and brilliantly written, this book will have you looking at the world through new eyes.