Peter Taylor's top 10 books on the Troubles | Books | The GuardianI was born and raised in the Republic of Ireland- in Cork, about as far south as you can go. As a child, I saw the last remnants of the violence from the Troubles and as I grew up, I witnessed the creation of a peace process that has held for three decades. Ireland is green and pretty but it has a dark and complex history. Mild questions were posed about the peace process and, more recently, talks of a hard border and the dismantling of the Good Friday Agreement have become more widespread. During Eurovision, a Conservative councillor sent a tweet promoting the placement of a hard border in Ireland, as punishment for Ireland not giving the UK Eurovision points. This is foolish, of course, but it does reflect a harsh reality; we are making decisions without understanding the reality of what they may mean.
50 Years on from the Troubles – many fear a return to violence
List of books about the Troubles
Peter Taylor, a journalist and documentary filmmaker, has covered the Irish conflict for 30 years. In his trilogy about the Troubles, he explores events from the points of view of the republicans, the loyalists, and now the British. Buy Brits at Amazon. An astonishing work of journalism and scholarship that details in personal terms every death on every side in the year conflict, it is painful, illuminating, desperately moving and sad. Man of War, Man of Peace? Sharrock and Devenport bravely go where others fear to tread on to ground that Adams can't or won't traverse. Good judgment; great sources.
My earliest understanding of the Troubles in literature was that it was not a subject for literature. I have a vivid memory of walking the length of our street — a terrace of former houses converted into shops on the ground floor — balancing on the edge of the kerb. When it was rebuilt after the bomb the street was pedestrianised. No more kerbs. That street of my childhood would have appeared, I imagine, much like Duke Street in Other students commented on its reliability, or its usefulness to the historian; I was picturing the Bogside. If the Troubles was not a subject for literature, its streets — and its people — certainly were.
Were we finally far enough away from the events of to start fictionalising them? My father grew up in the Ardoyne, the primarily Catholic area of north Belfast that was the epicentre of the strife. His father had been a member of the IRA, and although my dad left Belfast just as the Troubles were beginning, most of his family stayed, and throughout my youth the war in Ireland, as my father called it, dominated family discussions, especially when one of his brothers came from Belfast to stay with us. It was the stories they told, and the way they told them, that first got me interested in writing about those times. My father and his brothers were semi-literate, but they had such faith in language.
Top 10 books about the Troubles. Novelist David Keenan picks fiction, history and reportage that record the devastating conflict that convulsed.
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