The Yank: The True Story of a Former U.S. Marine in the Irish Republican Army

Melville House. Sept. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781612199849. $28.99. HIST
Crawley, an Irish insurrectionist and strident advocate for a united Ireland, details his experience as an Irish Republican Army (IRA) guerrilla fighter and critic, convicted gun runner and bombing plotter, and a forceful champion for a united Irish republic—one without the United Kingdom. Born an American, he spent much of his youth living in Ireland. At 18, he joined the U.S. Marines to learn military skills, which he used as an IRA volunteer against the British in Northern Ireland. Soon, he became quite disillusioned with the IRA’s training, leadership, planning, and internal security. The IRA sent him to the U.S. to buy arms and work with Whitey Bulger, the notorious organized crime boss. Crawley went to prison for smuggling those arms. In fact, he ended up in prison twice. He remains an outspoken advocate of uniting Ireland and removing all British interference in Irish affairs.
VERDICT Readers interested in a firsthand account from an IRA fighter with a U.S. Marine perspective, one who is a forceful believer in Irish republicanism, will find this book very interesting. His experiences and views raise interesting questions about how someone can be a patriot and freedom fighter from one perspective and a terrorist from another.
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