Say Nothing

Say Nothing

A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

Large Print - 2019
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"From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions. In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville's children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress--with so many kids, McConville always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes. Patrick Radden Keefe's mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders. From radical and impetuous I.R.A. terrorists--or volunteers, depending on which side one was on--such as Dolours Price, who, when she was barely out of her teens, was already planting bombs in London and targeting informers for execution, to the ferocious I.R.A. mastermind known as The Dark, to the spy games and dirty schemes of the British Army, to Gerry Adams, who negotiated the peace and denied his I.R.A. past, betraying his hardcore comrades--Say Nothing conjures a world of passion, betrayal, vengeance, and anguish"--
Publisher: [New York] :, Random House Large Print,, [2019]
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781984883216
Branch Call Number: LT 364.1523092 KE
Characteristics: 782 pages (large print) : illustrations ; 24 cm
large print,rda


From Library Staff

If you like: True crime and history writing. Documents the abduction and murder of IRA Troubles victim Jean McConville in 1972 Belfast, exploring how the case reflected the brutal conflicts of Northern Ireland and their ongoing repercussions. One of One of NPR's Maureen Corrigan's Best Books Of 2... Read More »

Say Nothing is a compelling account of The Troubles-- the violent sectarian strife that erupted in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s. It's equal parts murder mystery, thriller, history, and group biography of major and minor players. It stands out from other accounts because Keefe doesn't take s... Read More »

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Jan 13, 2020

NYT 2019 Top 10

Nov 24, 2019

On Best Books of 2019 NYT list

Nov 02, 2019

Suzanne book club pick

Oct 10, 2019

I was in Ireland in August, about 6 weeks ago, on a guided bus tour of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Our bus driver was also the tour guide, and was a man who had been actively involved in the Troubles, and spent 3 years in jail as one of the “blanket men”. He taught all of us a lot about what had gone on, from both points of view. He took us to see the peace walls and I wrote my message on a wall there as thousands had before me. He referenced this book, and while it includes some of the terrorism on the part of the IRA it barely acknowledges terrorism on the part of the loyalists, or on the part of soldiers. The book was not meant to be only about Jean McConville, but also about other major figures during those years. My parents were born and raised in Belfast, and our family lived there for a short time. I felt first-hand as a child the tensions between Catholics and Protestants in 1961-63 when I lived there, and six weeks ago, felt it again in Belfast, and in Derry. I think the book captures the huge divide, still present in the form of flags that are flown to identify whether a person is in a Protestant or Catholic neighbourhood. The tensions are alive and well, and as was stated by an IRA member in the book, I think they “have never gone away.” I worry about what will happen regarding borders as a result of Brexit.

Sep 19, 2019

recommended by Mary Keating

Aug 22, 2019

extremely interesting

Aug 02, 2019

In “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland,” Patrick Radden Keefe has crafted a masterpiece — of journalism, of narrative nonfiction, of pure storytelling. Perfectly paced and sequenced, this is a moving, illuminating, haunting, and powerful book. This is not just a story for those interested in Irish history or politics, the Troubles, the Irish Republican Army, or true crime. This is a story for anyone who likes a good story, for anyone who reads every article in The New Yorker (where Keefe happens to be a staff writer) knowing full well that it’s not the subject that matters, it’s the writing. Keefe puts the reader not at the periphery of events but right in the middle, with all the terror, violence, fear, shock, desperation, horror, pain, and sadness that accompanies them. I was frequently overwhelmed by the immersiveness of many of the book’s events, and Keefe’s ability to bring the stories of the people within these pages to life is both a testament to his skill as a writer but more so, I think, to his skill as a listener. “Say Nothing” is an important book, but don’t let that stop you from reading one of the most compelling page-turners you’re likely to find.

Aug 02, 2019

5 stars. This is the most complete book I've read in years. I would give it 10 stars if I could. History, crime, context and humanity. Beautifully written, Say Nothing kept me fascinated and informed while explaining the background and context of the Troubles of Northern Ireland. I grew up with Bloody Sunday, Bobby Sands, Sinn Fein and Gerry Adams as part of news headlines without ever understanding the context. Brilliant narrative non-fiction.

May 31, 2019

There are seldom straight lines in history and certainly not
In conflicts from the Middle East nor Northern Ireland.
The author takes no sides as he steers us through the muddied
And serpentine loops known as “the troubles”.
His research carries great heft, and he acknowledges what a mindtrap
Balancing competing sides can be. But therein lies the book’s terrible beauty. The more we read the more we realize how utterly tragic life unravels from what one side calls a crime and the other - a war.

AEPowers60 May 29, 2019

A must read for anyone wishing to understand the "Troubles" Part history, part murder mystery, "Say Nothing" is told in a riveting style that engages the reader from beginning to end. One of my early candidates for best non-fiction book of 2019.

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