Cover Image: Say Nothing

Say Nothing

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Member Reviews

All of my knowledge of the Troubles in Ireland comes from the show Derry Girls, so it was interesting to learn more details about the war between Protestants and Catholics that has caused so much death in that part of the country. My overall interest in this book, however, went in and out as I read. Most of it gets right to the point and explores the motivations of various people involved in the struggle. Some sections, however, seemed to just drag on and repeat information we'd already learned.
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I traveled to Ireland in 2008 and in every tour I went on, there was talk of the "troubles" and the history that at first seemed like decades ago but really had happened in our lifetime. At the time I wished I had a book that could tell me about what that was like... this is it. 
Patrick Radden Keefe weaves an heartwrenching tale of what happened to the families and the country during the time of the Troubles in Ireland. All of us who are curious, who have Irish blood running through us, need to read Say Nothing and know what happened during this time of conflict. Highly recommend.
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Before reading this book, I was unfortunately really ignorant about The Troubles in Ireland. This book was a great introduction into this part of history. Keefe is able to construct a fascinating and titillating account of some of the big players in the IRA during the 1970s. There was so much violence and mayhem attached to these people, and Keefe is able to capture it all in a book that reads more like fiction at times. I was completely captivated throughout the entire book - something that can be hard to do in nonfiction. Plus, even though this is quite a long book, it never felt like it dragged or got bogged down in dates or facts. Instead, "Say Nothing" not only educated me but also created intense emotions with its honesty and heart. I'll definitely be recommending this one!
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To be honest, I didn't fully understand the Northern Ireland Troubles and the IRA before reading this book. I had a vague understanding - paramilitary IRA factions, conflict between Catholics and Protestants, Belfast is a rough town...but I learned a lot more. Patrick Radden Keefe does a great job laying out the beginning of the Troubles (1970s), the key players (Dolours Price, Marian Price, Gerry Adams, etc) and follows that history to modern day. Central to the story was the murder (allegedly by the IRA) of mother of 10, Jean McConville. Equally interesting is the Belfast Project out of Boston College - a coordinated oral history of what really happened in the 70's and 80's by the people who were actually there, and is under lock and key until those members die (however, best laid plans....). It's a tough situation all around - the Irish have LONNNNNNGGGG been fighting for full independence and today remain separated into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (UK)...and (allegedly) the IRA still exists.
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Engaging. Hard to put down. And excellent for fans of true crime and history. I can’t wait to recommend this book!
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An intriguing and suspenseful account of the troubles in Ireland that is a cross between history book and murder mystery.  Well done.
Many different players to sort through. Made me aware of a recent time in history that many don't know about. Murders and hunger strikes as well as appearances by political figures are noted.  

Copy provided by the publisher and NetGalley
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Exceptional. Dense, complex, and requires your full attention... but fascinating and full of remarkable characters. Not a quick read, but a good one.
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I'm reading two nonfiction books now- Say Nothing- The True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe and Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. Say Nothing tells the story of a widowed mother of ten children who is taken away from her home in Belfast by masked men and never seen again. Through her story, we find out about "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland, as the I.R.A., a militia of mostly Catholic men and women, battle the British soldiers who are there to maintain the status quo for the ruling Protestant minority by any means possible, including brutal violence against the citizens of Northern Ireland. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to know more about that time in recent history.
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Breathtakingly haunting and good.

Patrick Radden Keefe tells the story of the conflict in Northern Ireland between the Irish nationalists, the Catholics, and the unionists, the Protestants, in a time described as The Troubles.
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Get ready for a book that is going to make you sit back and rethink everything you thought you already knew...

This story started with the disappearance of a young mother and then follows the story of the IRA and the troubles between Ireland and Britain. It was a fabulous read and I really enjoyed it all. Well thought out and extremely well researched, this book is a must-read for true crime fans!
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Excellent true story.  It is hard to believe this dark and disturbing book covers real events.  It was a very educational read.  I was not well informed of the “troubled” times before I read this book.  Keefe did an excellent job of detailing the history in an engaging and understandable way.

I received this galley from NetGalley.
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I thought this was a superb work of narrative non-fiction. You don't entirely know where the two "separate" plots are going throughout most of the book, and the fact that it takes the author so long to reveal how they're related is genius- you start to know where the story is going to end up, and you dread it but also want to be proven right. I think this is also a great introduction to "The Troubles", if you're not super familiar with that part of history. I highly recommend this, and also recommend the audiobook if that's your kind of thing.
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Wow what an excellent read. The author did their research! I really didn't know much at all before about Irish history in general much less what happened during the Troubles. Now I want to know more! Thank you to Netgalley and DoubleDay books for an ARC copy.
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This is one of the best books I've read this year. It's an amazing piece of reporting and writing as well as a heartbreaking story.
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I give a 5 star rating when reading the book changes my outlook on life in some way.  This book will stay with me for a long time.
I cannot say exactly how I feel in this review without it becoming too controversial,  My personal feelings are that both sides are wrong in the way things were handled, but I am speaking as  
 an outsider, my ancestors left Belfast in the 1800's and I have never visited Ireland.  However, I don't think the whole truth will ever be known.
This was a well researched and excellently written book.
I particularly liked how the story of Jean McConnell's abduction and disappearence was intertwined with the history of The Troubles and the lives of Marian and
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Of course, another true crime book I love. I've actually heard this story before on a podcast but only so many details can be mentioned. This book gave me all the details any true crime fan would want to read. It was thrilling, it was sad, it was bizarre, and it was scary. This will go down as one of the best true crime books of the year.
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If you have ever been interested or intrigued or curious about the history of conflict and fighting in Northern Ireland, then this is the book for you!! I fall into that category and was very interested to read this, especially after seeing strong reviews for it. The amount of research that went into this book is simply astonishing.
So what happened to Jean McConville? It's fascinating how the disappearance of the mother of ten brought light onto the unraveling of much of the conflict and the players behind the conflict. When reading the book description you think this is a story just about Jean McConville, but it's so much bigger than that. To understand what happened to her, you need to know about the Price sisters, Gerry Adams, Brendan Hughes, the IRA, the Sinn Fein Party, all the way up to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
So many lives were lost in this war between the Catholics and the Protestants. This novel is truly a historic piece that reads just like a true crime novel. Maybe if my history book in school had been written in this fashion then I would have paid more attention. As the author brings each character to life, you really feel their emotional struggle and burden for whichever side of the fence they stand. You feel their passion, almost to a point of understanding why they made the decisions they made even if you don't agree with them. Keefe does an excellent side of showcasing both sides of the conflict and its aftermath. And while this book is comprehensive, you will have just as many question as you have answers by the end. That has nothing to do with Keefe's writing or research, but a mere fact that a lot of the answers died with the very people who could have answered those questions. The title Say Nothing could not be a more perfect title. Those who talked ultimately died. And that fear of talking seems still present today. It's fascinating, intriguing, suspenseful, emotional and heartbreaking all in one.

My thanks to Patrick Radden Keefe , Doubleday Books and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland is an intricate and moving piece of narrative nonfiction concerning The Troubles in the North of Ireland, particularly centered in Belfast, beginning in 1969 through the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

Bookending Radden Keefe's extraordinary compilation of these events is the story of a mother of ten, Jean McConville, who was kidnapped from her home in late 1972, becoming one of 'the disappeared' during this bitter conflict. McConville had been accused of being a paid informant for the British Army and it was common knowledge at the time that the IRA was responsible for her disappearance.

This book seems remarkably researched and indeed, Radden Keefe, provides copious amounts of notes at the end of the main story detailing where his information is coming from, etc. During the course of his 4-years of research, he interviewed around 100 people, although many more refused to speak with him, as talking about The Troubles can still hold repercussions.

I was so impressed with how he was able to bring such a sensitive and emotional topic to life on the page. Weaving together an immersive account of a time fraught with violence, betrayals and loss. There are descriptive accounts of the roles of various players at the time such as Gerry Adams, Brendan Hughes, Bobby Sands and the Price Sisters, Dolours and Marian.

One of the most interesting areas explored, for me, was the hunger strikes carried out by many of the volunteers captured and imprisoned by the British. I hadn't really heard too much about that before and found it a horrifying and fascinating avenue of resistance; handled really well within these pages.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone interested in 20th century Irish history or anyone interested in The Troubles in particular. I definitely have a couple of people in my own life that I will be purchasing this book for as a gift. 

Thank you so much to the publisher, Doubleday Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I truly appreciate having the opportunity to read this one. A big thank you as well to the author, Patrick Radden Keefe, for taking on this project as I feel this is a part of history that deserves to be remembered. Well done.
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In Patrick Radden Keefe's Say Nothing, The Troubles are explored primarily through the lens of one disappearance: that of Jean McConville, widowed mother of ten. It opens with a startling scene: Jean at home in the evening, trying to relax a little after a full day of work, when masked figures turn up demanding entrance to the apartment. McConville's children try to resist them, but Jean is taken and goes with them. She never returns home. No one will say what's happened to her. We then go back, and forward, to examine how her abduction came to take place, and what became of all the players in the drama afterwards.

There's a lot of information in here: about the origins of the Irish Republican Army and the offshoots that came into being around the time of the fighting (like the Provisional IRA, the one you're probably thinking about when you think about the IRA), the leadership of that group, the eventual rise of Sinn Fein and end of active hostilities. But just as much, it's about people. Dolours Price and her sister Marian, Brendan Hughes, and Gerry Adams from the IRA; and also Jean McConville and her family, how she might have drawn the attention of the IRA, the ways that the sudden and unexplained loss of their mother affected the children as they grew up. 

I'll admit I struggled to get oriented in this book at first. I came in with very little background and a lot of the factual stuff, with often confusingly similarly named organizations and groups, is frontloaded. It was hard to get and stay engaged and I honestly found myself turning to Wikipedia quite a bit to get enough context for what I was reading to get my head around it. But once it finished with the set up and dug into the major figures tied up in the disappearing of Jean McConville, it found much more solid ground and got much more compelling. I was left with indelible impressions of Dolours, Brendan, and Gerry, figures who had been completely unknown to me beforehand. 

The book prompted me to do a lot of thinking about the porousness of the line between terrorism and revolution, the astonishing power of pure conviction, and the potential of even violent people to turn over a new leaf and be a perfectly normal member of the community. That the members of the IRA thought of the violent methods through which they sought to achieve their aims as justified and that they were military rather than criminal in their killing of other people is obvious. Is this why people like Dolours were able to transition away from their former lives, because she didn't think of herself as a bad person? I always appreciate when a book is able to make me question my assumptions, and if you're interested in learning more about what happened during The Troubles, this book has a lot to offer. But do beware that the beginning is slow and may not provide enough information to really give the kind of context it's clearly looking to.
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This book was such an interesting account of the unrest between the Irish Catholics and the Protestants. It was like a history lesson for me wrapped in a kid napping. Makes clear how difficult the situation was and still to s in the area of the world. The story is with narrative so it’s more gripping than a history book. Would definitely recommend this book to others who enjoy true crime like I do. Thank you Netgalley for chance to read this one!
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