The I.R.A. and Its Enemies: Violence and Community in Cork, 1916-1923

Synopsis

What is it like to be in the I.R.A. - or at their mercy? This fascinating study explores the lives and deaths of the enemies and victims of the County Cork I.R.A. between 1916 and 1923 - the most powerful and deadly branch of the I.R.A. during one of the most turbulent periods in twentieth-century Ireland. These years saw the breakdown of the British legal system and police authority, the rise of republican violence, and the escalation of the conflict into a full-scale guerilla war, leading to a wave of riots, ambushes, lootings, and reprisal killings, with civilians forming the majority of victims in this unacknowledged civil war. Religion may have provided the starting point for the conflict, but class prejudice, patriotism, and personal grudges all fuelled the development and continuation of widespread violence. Using an unprecedented range of sources - many of them only recently made public - Peter Hart explores the motivation behind such activity. His conclusions not only reveal a hidden episode of Ireland's troubled past but provide valuable insights into the operation of similar terrorist groups today.