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

| Book Review by Mike Wall |

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

by Patrick Radden Keefe

In Belfast, Northern Ireland in late December of 1972 as many as eight men shoved their way into the apartment of Jean McConville, a 37-year-old widow and mother who had just stepped out of her bath. They ordered her to dress and come with them. All but two of the men were masked. Jean’s oldest son recognized the unmasked men as neighbors. One man carried a handgun. All 10 of her children were present. Downstairs more masked men waited. Jean was bundled into a van. A man put the muzzle of a gun next to her son’s face and told him to leave.

Her body was discovered in 2003. A blue diaper pin she kept clipped to her blouse helped identify her. No one had been prosecuted for her murder.

Using the murder of Jean McConville as the lodestar, Keefe tells the story of The Troubles, the internecine violence and open warfare that has taken the lives of more than 3500 people since 1969. Brokered by the United States, The Troubles ended with The Good Friday Agreement of April 1998.

This book records the aftereffects of this conflict, how the participants, years later, “nursed old grudges and endlessly replayed their worst abominations”, and how “they never stopped devouring themselves (322).”

We learn what happened to Jean McConville.

Decades later Gerry Adams. an IRA leader was heckled while giving a speech. The man in the crowd yelled, “Bring back the IRA!” Adams shot back, “They haven’t gone away, you know (319).”

That is a moment to make you gasp, that it could all come back. Yeats in his great poem on the Irish revolt against British rule, “Easter, 1916” asked if all the deaths were worth the gain.

Jean McConville’s death was not. She is the person who matters, the name and story that forces us to move beyond statistics and slogans and into the real pain of political violence.

Back to our main site www.wellingtonsquarebooks.com

Interview with Peter Heller author of “The Dog Stars”

Today at 5:00pm on WCHE 1520am, Sam interviews Peter Heller, author ofThe Dog Stars.

Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life–something like his old life–exists beyond the airport. Risking everything, he flies past his point of no return–not enough fuel to get him home–following the trail of the static-broken voice on the radio. But what he encounters and what he must face–in the people he meets, and in himself–is both better and worse than anything he could have hoped for.

“One of the most powerful reads in years.” — Playboy

“Gripping…Heller’s surprising and irresistible blend of suspense, romance, social insight, and humor creates a cunning form of cognitive dissonance neatly pegged by Hig as an “apocalyptic parody of Norman Rockwell”—a novel, that is, of spiky pleasure and signal resonance.” – Booklist

“Fresh … quiet, meditative … it’s the people [Hig] meets when he least expects to who change everything, proving a truth we know from our everyday nonfictional lives: Even when it seems like all the humans in the world are only out for themselves, there are always those few who prove you absolutely wrong—in the most surprising of ways.” – Oprah.com

Peter Heller is a longtime contributor to NPR, and a contributing editor at Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure. He is an award winning adventure writer and the author of four books of literary nonfiction.  He lives in Denver. Heller was born and raised in New York. He attended high school in Vermont and Dartmouth College in New Hampshire where he became an outdoorsman and whitewater kayaker. He traveled the world as an expedition kayaker, writing about challenging descents in the Pamirs, the Tien Shan mountains, the Caucuses, Central America and Peru.  At the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he received an MFA in fiction and poetry, he won a Michener fellowship for his epic poem “The Psalms of Malvine.”  He has worked as a dishwasher, construction worker, logger, offshore fisherman, kayak instructor, river guide, and world class pizza deliverer. Some of these stories can be found in Set Free in China, Sojourns on the Edge.

Listen to Sam’s interview with Peter on Podomatic or you can download the podcast on iTunes.

Hip Hot and Happening in the Bookshop

The new Rock Flower Paper bucket bags are finally here and they are fabulous!

                                              

This new bag is 100% cotton canvas, with magnetic snap, zipper pocket and faux leather handles.  This is perfect for toting your snacks, towels, and of course books down to the pool or beach.  The new spring/summer fabrics are beautiful and very eye catching. 

We also go in a number of new patterns in our popular tiny totes.  My favorite is the purple dragonfly.   Stop by, pick up your favorite and fill it with books.                                                 

                                                   

Happy Spring! 

Meet the Author – January 28 from 11am – 1pm

Invitation to Book Signing at Wellington Square Bookshop

Special Invitation to a Book Signing

Saturday, January 28th, 2012 11:00 am ~ 1:00 pm

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be first among equals in a tight job market? Are you pondering what you need to do to get the next promotion, or whether you should even stay at your current job?

The answers to questions like these may be simpler than you think once you understand your power style. Join us on January 28th, when executive coach and author Maggie Craddock will be discussing the research behind her latest book, Power Genes: Understanding Your Power Persona – and How to Wield it at Work (Harvard Business Press, June 2011).

Bring your friends and enjoy an interactive presentation by Maggie Craddock.

Delight in the old world treasure and eclectic selection of books and unique gift items at the Wellington Square Bookshop
~ Light refreshments will be served ~
Wellington Square Bookshop Eagleview Town Center 541 Wellington Square ~ Exton, PA 19341

Genes: — and How to Wield It at Work

history and professional performance.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maggie Craddock is an executive coach and author of the authentic Career: Following the Path of self-discovery to Professional Fulfillment. Prior to coaching, she received two Lipper Awards for managing the top mutual fund in its class nationwide. She is an Ackerman-certified family therapist.
“ Regardless of where you fit on the Power Grid , understanding Maggie Craddock’s insight that who you are and where you come from impact how you are perceived by others is critical to becomeing a more effective leader.”

—Brian P. Hull I Group Managing Director, USB Wealth Management Americas