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

Doubleday. Feb. 2019. 464p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780385521314. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385543378. CRIME
OrangeReviewStarIn 1972, Jean McConville, single mother of ten, was believed to be an informant for the British army. For that reason, she was kidnapped by a group of masked IRA (Irish Republican Army) members and never heard from again. Three decades later, her remains were uncovered. Sandwiched in the decades in-between was the violent conflict in Northern Ireland commonly known as the Troubles. The story of McConville and the Troubles is told here by New Yorker staff writer Keefe (The Snakehead and Chatter). Shifting focus between the people involved in the IRA, such as Dolours Price, Gerry Adams, and Brendan Hughes, and McConville and her family, the author illustrates how interconnected Northern Ireland was during the conflict and how trauma, as well as silence about trauma, can destroy individuals, families, and communities. Drawing on controversial oral histories from Boston College as well as personal interviews, archival materials, affidavits, newspapers, memoirs, and a variety of other sources, Keefe blends threads of espionage, murder mystery, and political history into a single captivating narrative.
VERDICT Keefe deftly turns a complicated and often dark subject into a riveting and informative page-turner that will engage readers of both true crime and popular history.
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