Children of the Troubles: Our Lives in the Crossfire of Northern Ireland [NOOK Book]


In this remarkable second book in the Children of Conflict series, Laurel Holliday presents a powerful collection of young people's memories of growing up in the midst of the violence in Northern Ireland known as "The Troubles."
"All my life I have been afraid. When it would get dark I would lie in bed and be frightened to move in case men would be outside who were going to smash the doors in with a sledge ...
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Children of the Troubles: Our Lives in the Crossfire of Northern Ireland

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In this remarkable second book in the Children of Conflict series, Laurel Holliday presents a powerful collection of young people's memories of growing up in the midst of the violence in Northern Ireland known as "The Troubles."
"All my life I have been afraid. When it would get dark I would lie in bed and be frightened to move in case men would be outside who were going to smash the doors in with a sledge hammer and then shoot whoever is in the house as they have done before."
-- Bridie Murphy, age twelve

More than sixty Catholic and Protestant children, teenagers, and adults chronicle their coming-of-age experiences in the war zone, from bomb-devastated Belfast to the terrorist-ridden countryside.
"It was like my head exploded. It's an experience you can't really understand -- getting shot in the head -- unless it's happened to you.
-- Stephen Robinson, wounded while walking home from secondary school

For the first time in thirty years there is some hope for an end to the murders and bombings that have wounded more than 40,000. But the ravages of war remain indelibly etched on the minds and souls of the generation known as children of "The Troubles."
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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Samantha Hunt
The generation that has grown up in Northern Ireland since 1969 has-until the recent cease-fire-never known peace. These children of "The Troubles" were born into a divided country to live under martial law and witness beatings, shooting, and bombings. This collection of personal stories, poems, and diary entries by more than sixty children, teens, and adults, both Protestant, and Catholic, presents a wide range of personal, political, and religious viewpoints. Effort has been made to provide a fair, unbiased forum: There is an equal number of male and female contributors. Both sides of the religious question are considered in as balanced a presentation as possible, as are the various facets of the socio-economic spectrum. While some of the contributions are immediately and individually gripping (Brenda Murphy's account of imprisonment as a seventeen-year-old terrorist; John Delaney's reminiscences on violent political clashes in the streets of Belfast), the most important thing about this book is that exists. In a country where crossing the street into another neighborhood can get a person killed, where many do not even meet a person of the "other" religion until their teens, and where the unofficial motto is "Whatever you say, say nothing," its very existence is remarkable. So is the fact that none of the contributors chose to be anonymous. Second in the Children of Conflict series (following Holliday's Children in the Holocaust and World War II: Their Secret Diaries [Pocket Books/S & S, 1995/VOYA October 1995]), this volume is a valuable contribution to the primary source literature about young people and the effects of war upon them. It is neither light nor pleasant reading; it is, however, important reading. For comparisons from the previous decade, read Carolyn Meyer's Voices of Northern Ireland: Growing Up in a Troubled Land (Harcourt Brace Johanovich, 1987). A must-read for the serious historian is Tim Pat Coogan's The Troubles: Ireland's Ordeal 1966-1996 and the Search for Peace (Roberts Rinehart, 1996). Photos. Maps. Biblio. Chronology. VOYA Codes: 4Q 2P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Library Journal
The second book in the celebrated "Children of Conflict" series, following Children in the Holocaust and World War II Pocket, 1995.
School Library Journal
YAThrough poetry, autobiographical accounts, and reflective prose, the children of Northern Ireland's conflict tell their stories of growing up and living in the crossfire. Holliday solicited materials for this anthology and received over 600 replies; she selected and edited the writings for consistency and Protestant/Catholic balance, but the words belong to those directly or indirectly involved in this generations-old struggle. Irish idioms are explained as are any unfamiliar references. The contributors experienced these events during their youth or adolescence but many of them wrote as adults remembering the horror. Each selection is introduced with a picture and short paragraph about the author. Holliday's 17-page introduction gives an overview of this conflict and discusses its current status. This first-person approach to understanding conflict and its impact on young people is a valuable asset to any high school collection but especially for those schools offering units in conflict resolution, current events, or world history. Readers will feel empathy toward their peers growing up under tragic circumstances not only in Northern Ireland but in other tension-filled war zones throughout the world.Dottie Kraft, formerly at Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
John Prados
"This reader was moved to tears numerous immensely powerful work..." -- Washington Post Book World
John Marshall
"A powerful and haunting addition to the literature of those fateful days when the whole world was at war." -- Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Herbert Mitgang
"Most poignant...a major addition to theliterature of uncelebrated war." -- New York Newsday
Ruth Fischer
"A splendid anthology...In al the diaries there is a between-the-line sene of the writers' collective awareness that they were addressing future generations. it is as if they wanted to leave a testament for posterity. Indeed they have." -- Cleveland Plain Dealer
Paul Dean
"Children, always so precious...assume divinity in this poignant volume that touches the worst level of inhumanity...[a book] for days when perspective, priorities, and our human resolve need a jolt." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
An occasionally powerful collection of young people's memories and impressions of Northern Ireland's violent civil strife.

Holliday continues her Children of Conflict series (Children of the Holocaust and World War II, not reviewed) with this collection of brief essays, poems, and diary entries that people sent to her in response to her requests made through newspapers and schools. Because the 60 children, young adults, and adults (recalling events from the heights of "the Troubles" when they were children) were not responding to a specific questionnaire, the results are not always focused, detailed, or engaging. The author considers it a "testament to these writers' courage . . . that not a single person in this anthology asked to be anonymous," but lack of anonymity (and the b&w photos of each contributor) prevents those who admit having committed sectarian crimes from discussing their acts in detail, and thus keeps much of the collection blanketed in banality. The book opens with a young Irishman's teenage memories of how he "split a black soldier's head open" during a riot, and then vomited after seeing a woman keeping watch over her dead son's corpse, "his intestines hanging out like snails." While the book never again captures such drama or gore, there are passages about Catholic boys being savaged by British militia for the crime of carrying empty milk bottles and petrol (popular ingredients of handmade bombs) and the anger, fear, and grief felt by Protestants in the wake of IRA bombings. The anthology is at its best when offering first-hand accounts of hunger-striker Bobby Sands's funeral, expressing resentment over terrorists targeting even the milkman of a police officer, and conveying the courage of "pigs in the middle," who socialize and sympathize with the other side.

The bibliography and chronology add to the book's value as a teaching tool for high schoolers, but adults will find this collection lacking the more candid and unrehearsed eloquence of other first-person works on "the Troubles."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781476775333
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Publication date: 2/4/2014
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • File size: 3 MB

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
One for the Road 23
Diary - 28th April 1994 31
Eamon 34
The Riots in Belfast 39
Two Communities 44
Children of the Troubles 46
The Hurricane's Mane 50
Over the Wall 54
Shot in the Head 59
Internment 62
Belfast Boy and Kneecapped 67
Innocent Greed 70
One Night 73
Surviving the Troubles: A View from the Suburbs 78
Clutch of Fear 86
Self-Preservation 98
Just Another Day in Belfast 100
Pain or Peace? 122
Condemned 124
The Clock Ticks, Echoing Round the Walls 140
Ulster Rain 142
Riots! 149
Our Street 151
A Normal Childhood? 153
The Other Side 159
Personal Memories of the Troubles 161
A Dream of Peace 166
My Recollections of the Troubles 168
Troubles on the Homefront 173
Over the Border 178
My Memories of Life in Derrybeg 189
Time for Peace 202
Personal Experience 204
The Leaving of Liverpool 207
The Largatacky Wallop 212
The Death of a Soldier 216
Ireland Du Nord 219
Hopes and Dreams of Youth 221
Unwelcome Callers 226
If the Worst Should Happen and How? 230
The Quiet Streets of Northern Ireland 243
Bouncing on the Bed 245
Bussing It 247
Letters to the Prime Minister 263
Troubles 267
If You Didn't Laugh You'd Cry 268
McSweeney Astray? 271
Birds Flying Gracefully Through the Air 278
The Mission 280
Change 289
Looking for Peace 291
Neil 293
Teenage Kicks 299
The Road Rats Cometh 305
Diary 309
Pig in the Middle 314
Second Generation 331
Emigrant Brother 336
The Legacy of the Past and Hope for the Future: Reflections on Growing up in Northern Ireland 338
Outside Looking In 344
River of Peace 347
The Long Shadow 349
Bibliography 351
Credits 353
Photo Credits 359
Chronology 363
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