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Pól Ó Lorcáin
Paul Larkin

Chroniclers are privileged to enter where they list, to come and go through keyholes, to ride upon the wind, to overcome in their soarings up and down, all obstacles of distance, time and place.
Charles Dickens - Barnaby Rudge, Chapter The Ninth

Gunsmoke - Henry McDonald’s True Colours, by Paul Larkin

A review of Henry McDonald’s book Gunsmoke and Mirrors (How Sinn Fein dressed up defeat as victory).
Henry McDonald is Ireland Correspondent for the Guardian newspaper.

All quotes from the book refer to the hardback version published by Gill and MacMillan, 2008. This review also contains quotes from McDonald's “autobiography” Colours (Ireland from bombs to boom) in the Mainstream Publishing paperback version of 2005. There is a short glossary at the end of this review which explains some of the acronyms used - Paul Larkin, Baile Átha Cliath/Dublin, Mí an Mhárta/March 2009.

GUNSMOKE AND MIRRORS

Having worked as a journalist and film maker for BBC Northern Ireland’s investigative programme Spotlight in the late 1980s through to 1994, and having also written a book about collusion between the British intelligence services and loyalist paramilitaries, I have had occasion to read a good many books about the most recent round of the Irish Troubles. Even the poorest of these books has had some redeeming quality, some insight, which for me, as an informed reader, provided a new understanding of some aspect of the Troubles. I regret to say that Henry McDonald’s latest book has no such redeeming feature. It is not that McDonald is without talents as a writer, Colours, for example, McDonald’s account of his upbringing in the Markets area of Belfast in the 1970s and 80s, contains some well drawn and imaginative descriptions of the extreme tensions and emergent youth cultures which pertained at that time. However, the very fact that this reviewer had to consult Colours to establish McDonald's own political antecedents and beliefs reveals one of the major failings of Gunsmoke. The subjects McDonald declines to discuss in Gunsmoke are the very things which would have saved it from being nothing more than a slapdash and badly written exercise in Provo baiting. Léigh an t-alt uilig - Read Full Article....

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