This book is the first of its kind to examine the role of religion in Northern Ireland by talking directly to those involved: to the churchmen and to the terrorists. It shows how religious conditioning and history lead inexorably to political violence. It asks Roman Catholic and Protestant paramilitaries how they can reconcile murder with their Christian convictions, and what the men of God should - or could - do to stop the killing. Martin Dillon talks to Billy Wright, loyalist hard man, whose murder in MAZE Prison on December 27, 1997 threatens the peace process; to Kenny McClinton, a convicted murderer who once advocated beheading Roman Catholics and impaling their heads on railings; to motherly Eileen, a leading member of the women's arm of the IRA; and to Father Pat Buckley - prepared to break the confessional seal to save a Unionist MP under threat of assassination but also to smuggle a Republican prisoner's wife across the Irish border.
An important work, containing interviews and material as disturbing as they are significant.
Journalist Dillon covered Northern Ireland for the BBC for 18 years and published a trilogy in Ireland on "The Troubles," now being released in this country in paperback God and the Gun; The Shankill Butchers; The Dirty War, Routledge, 1999. In God and the Gun, Dillon interviewed Protestant and Catholic terrorists to discern whether this is a religious war or one of economics and class. Aside from IRA "sources," Dillon interviewed the late Billy Wright, a.k.a. "King Rat," a notorious Protestant assassin killed by the IRA in prison in 1997. He also talked with Protestant terrorist Kenny McClinton and Father Pat Buckley, who admitted breaking the seal of the confessional to save lives on both sides. Some of Dillon's subjects answer directly, others quaver. There are many passages that make the book poignant and ironic as Dillon concludes that what should have been a civil rights struggle was manipulated into a religious war. He bogs down a bit at the end, reciting history to put his story in context, but this is still essential for all Irish history collections.--Robert C. Moore, Raytheon Electronic Sys., Sudbury, MA
Writer and political commentator Dillon examines the true role of religion in the hyper-violent political conflict in Northern Ireland through interviews with terrorists like Kenny McClinton and the late Billy Wright, as well as respected holy men like Father Pat Buckley. He charts the history of the paramilitary forces on both sides of the conflict, discussing issues such as religious conditioning and bigotry, widespread political violence, and controversial prison conversions. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
...likely to become the reference work on the subject.
Martin Dillon worked for the BBC in Northern Ireland for eighteen years and has won international acclaim for his non-fiction books about Ireland. A writer and producer of documentaries, Dillon has also been featured in news segments on CNN, ABC News, CBC, and National Public Radio, and is often called on as one of the foremost authorities on global terrorism. Dillon is the author of six bestselling books on terrorism in Northern Ireland. He currently resides in New York City.