Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

I’ve always been under-informed about the situation in Ireland and reading Say Nothing was a great way to cure that problem. It gives great history on the long-standing feud between the Protestants and Catholics in Ireland, and the problem with England getting involved in Ireland’s affairs for hundreds of years. It shares the story of the widowed 38-year-old mum of 10, Jean McConville, who is taken from her apartment one December night in 1972 by a threatening masked group, (IRA, but unsaid) and doesn’t come home. The kids try to carry on in her absence, with the oldest daughter in charge and the oldest boy working, but they are failing, hungry. The authorities eventually have to step in and put the younger ones into care, splitting some of them up.


The book also delves into the lives of several volunteer members of the IRA who have followed orders and done their jobs to an extreme. Some from a very young age, and almost to their deaths of starvation in prison on hunger strikes. There are the Price sisters, Dolours and Marian, and the man they call The Dark, Brendan Hughes. Bobby Sands, Gerry Adams, The IRA had split into 2 divisions, the Originals…more political, and the Provisionals who typically didn’t vote.  My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Patrick Radden Keefe, and the publisher for my fair review.

Publisher: Doubleday Books – 464 pages
Publication: Feb 26th, 2019

RATING: 4/5 Stars

The Author- PATRICK RADDEN KEEFE is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of The Snakehead and Chatter. His work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Slate, New York, and The New York Review of Books. He received the 2014 National Magazine Award for Feature Writing, for his story “A Loaded Gun,” was a finalist for the National Magazine Award for Reporting in 2015 and 2016, and is also the recipient of an Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellowship at the New America Foundation and a Guggenheim Fellowship.


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