Skip to content

May 23, 2018



by NancyElin



  1. Keane wants us to  understand the forces that produced
  2. the Irish War of Independence and Civil War.
  3. Keane zooms in and tells us his personal story about
  4. his town of Listowel, North Kerry Ireland.
  5. They all joined the revolution:
  6. grandmother Hannah,
  7. …her brother Mick and his friend Con.
  8. They took up guns to fight the British Empire.
  9. “This was to be a revolution of steel not poetry” (pg 26)



  1. Land:  ch 1
  2. It was an important  theme in this book
  3. …who lost it,  stole it, worked it and who  gained from it.
  4. Nothing was so political than
  5. …the ground beneath your feet.
  6. Keane’s father would tell his son: “What you have, you hold.”


  1. Justice?  ch 3
  2. It was not an easy life in Ireland 1879-1885
  3. ….famine and the start of the Land League.
  4. If a farmer declined to enter the organization
  5. he could expect to be boycotted,
  6. …experience cruel physical retaliation
  7. …or one day a bullet in his arm, if not his head.
  8. A network of secret groups sprang up across the country
  9. …to mete out the people’s justice.


  1. Auxiliaries and Black and Tansch 5
  2. This is the first book about Irish history
  3. …that  I have read  that has gone into such detail about
  4. security death squads and the
  5. scale of brutality meted out to civilians.
  6.  in the 1920’s…#Shock.


  1. Flying Columns: ch 6
  2. This was a small, independent, military unit capable of rapid mobility
  3. It is often an ad hoc unit, formed during the course of operations
  4. Political violence seems to simmer in Ireland…over centuries.
  5. Core tenet: Britian could only be drivan from Ireland by force.


Strong point:   reads like a novel!

  1. The cover says it all Wounds…love and war.
  2. 50% of the book is a telling of the routine harassment
  3. …ambush, reprisal and assassination in the area
  4. Listowel, North Kerry Ireland.
  5. I expected a dry account of the Irish Troubles
  6. …but Keane has infused Irish history with  journalist flair.
  7. The conflict between Republicans and Nationalists is fought out
  8. like a two-hander fist fight in front of the reader.



  1. I am proud of my Irish roots.
  2. But after reading this book…
  3. now I know why I’m so proud.
  4. Ireland suffered through a War of Independence,
  5. a Civil War and has emerged as a country
  6. that has learned to respect and live with each
  7. other’s differences.
  8. Fergal Keane’s book reveals  in the last 4
  9.  ….chapters his very personal story.
  10. “Memory is no longer a penance” (pg 299)
  11. #MustRead


Fergal Keane – Anglo-Irish Foreign correspondent with BBC News

Read more from Ireland, non-fiction
3 Comments Post a comment
  1. joyweesemoll
    Jun 20 2018

    I read The Insurrection in Dublin by James Stephens, a very immediate account of the Easter Rising in Dublin. This would give me much more context, which would help my understanding.

    • Jun 21 2018

      This book is very personal and an enjoyable because Keane has infused it with his famliy’s participation in Irish uprising and the consequences of their involvement. Thanks for your comment!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Lord John Marbury #BriFri – Joy's Book Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.