Bandit Country: The IRA and South Armagh

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Bandit Country: The IRA and South Armagh

Bandit Country: The IRA and South Armagh

RRP: £99
Price: £9.9
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South Armagh was described as 'Bandit Country' by Merlyn Rees when he was Northern Ireland Secretary and for nearly three decades it has been the most dangerous posting in the world for a British soldier. lots of descriptions of violence, bombings, attacks and counter attacks that went on in the last 25 years in South of Armagh of "Northern Ireland" by the police, British Army, IRA, UVF (a little) and other groups. The author provides numerous accounts from former serving members of the British Army and RUC confirming that, due to the level of threat from the Provisional IRA in South Armagh, they only left the likes of the heavily fortified Crossmaglen barracks by helicopter and even the garbage bins had to be emptied by the same method. However, do not let this put you off if you have an interest in understanding the course of the `Troubles' in South Armagh and how it influenced the broader struggle in the north of Ireland.

While they may have sentimental value, bibles passed down through the family are not often worth a lot of money. All used books might have various degrees of writing, highliting and wear and tear and possibly be an ex-library with the usual stickers and stamps.But with the motive unknown, the clock is ticking down as the president and UK prime minister prepare for a G8 world summit near Belfast. It is an impression of South Armagh that Bandit Country attempts to confirm throughout its chapters, but is it a fair reflection of reality?

The grudgng respect Britsh Army figures express for the PIRA will surprise, and the descriptions of operations are fascinating even for those generally more interested in politics than in military history. We are unable to offer refunds on digital purchases once payment is complete and the links have been sent. Collins had at one time been the chief Provisional IRA 'intelligence officer' in the nearby city of Newry but had agreed to turn Queen's Evidence, aka Supergrass, against his former comrades. During four years as a journalist working in Northern Ireland, I carried out interviews with members of the IRA, RUC, Irish police and British Army (including SAS), building up an intimate picture of the IRA in South Armagh from the protagonists themselves.Through taking one area of Northern Ireland, Toby Harnden throws the whole province into stark relief. Ex-CIA war crimes investigator Johnson is up against a ticking clock as the sniper’s body count rises and the president and UK prime minister prepare for a G8 world summit near Belfast. However, the victims of the violence on both sides are humanised allowing us to never really feel at ease with the killing and maiming - thankfully. Eventually, Johnson and his ex-MI6 colleague Jayne Robinson uncover historic hidden files, documents and dark secrets from three decades earlier that certain high-flying public figures would rather remained unread. Regretfully, one of his colleagues blamed Superintendent Buchanan's death on his belief in predestination, which, allegedly, meant that he did not take adequate precautions to avoid getting murdered.

South Armagh was described as "Bandit Country" by Merlyn Rees when he was Northern Ireland Secretary, and for nearly three decades it has been the most dangerous posting in the world for a British soldier. If I had to pick a top ten most influential books from growing up, this would undoubtedly be on the list. However, its worth finding a copy as its one of the best books about the troubles and the stories of South Armagh are incredibly interesting. I’d first learned about the Troubles as a kid when I learned my grandpa emigrated from Ireland at 10 years old and due to the conflict didn’t want to talk about it, violence or war at all.It was then fitted with a red railway engine light to give it an authentic appearance by night on the railway lines, and of course, a large bomb loaded in the back of the hybrid-transit/train. And the author has a bit of an obsession with thomas murphy and it goes through out the entire book. He also directly accuses several people who were never convicted of any specific event, which I found a little odd but he has the evidence to back up his accusations. Collins eventually retracted from his deal with the prosecution and was later acquitted of all charges, after the Diplock (no jury) trial judge, Higgins, accepted that Collins had been mistreated.

I live in this area and although the book doesn't speak for everyone in South Armagh it's still very good. As other reviewers have commented, Harnden's impartiality will surprise many given the editorial line of his employer 'The Daily Telegraph'. The focus was on the IRA activities, but it also covers "dirty deeds" by the crown and local government, as well as Protestant militias. I grew up in this area during this period and it was scary at times, but we got used to seeing the army and their helicopters, even became very friendly with a few of them.Among the important new stories contained in the book is the tale of how an Irish police officer working for the IRA betrayed the most senior RUC officer to be killed during the Troubles. If you have any interest in the troubles, the IRA, or just unconventional warfare this is a remarkable read. Famously described as 'Bandit Country' by Merlyn Rees when he was Northern Ireland Secretary, for nearly three decades South Armagh was the most dangerous posting in the world for a British soldier. I think a further book must exist somewhere which may shine a light on how far divisions have been healed as it seems incredulous to think that things are now chunky dory as the separations between community's ran deep at times through the period recorded.



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