Decoding the IRA: A Groundbreaking History

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Decoding the IRA

Tom Mahon is a historian and writer who has researched the IRA for over a decade. Decoding the IRA liked it 3. Would you like us to take another look at this review? The Flame and the Candle. Irish History For Dummies.

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The Town Below the Ground. At the heart of that campaign lies one man: From the outbreak of the troubles to the present day he has been an immensely influential figure. The most compelling question about the IRA is: Moloney's book is now updated to encompass the anxious and uneasy peace that has prevailed to None Shall Divide Us.


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  • The range of subjects is impressive—from work patterns to family life, naming practices, religions, race relations and modes of resistance. But by organising his account along the axes of space and time, Berlin gives coherence to what would otherwise have been an account overwhelming by its detail and complexity… Many Thousands Gone is likely to remain for years to come the standard account of the first two centuries of slavery in the area that became the United States.

    Slavery and race did not have a fixed character that endured for centuries but were constantly being constructed or reconstructed in response to changing historical circumstances. Many Thousands Gone illuminates the first years of African-American history more effectively than any previous study. Ira Berlin, like the very best historians who have tackled the problem, brings to the task a formidable record as a researcher and writer in more specialised areas of slave and post-slave studies.

    This is a deceptive book, for it is not simply a general account of slavery in North America.

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    It is a subtle—and beautifully written—argument about the phases of slave history and of that sharp differentiation across time and place that makes slavery so hard to contain within a more generalised format… What emerges is the most original and most persuasive overall study of North American slavery for a very long time… [ Many Thousands Gone ] is moreover a book with powerful implications for anyone interested in the wider history of America. It is, quite simply, a book of major importance for all historians of North America. Winkler, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    The notion that it was necessarily tied to the production of export staples is false.

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    Any reader intrigued by the tumultuous, shifting account of early American slavery and the people who made it need look no further than this state-of-the-art achievement by a masterful historian. Berlin paints deftly with a broad brush, and his trim narrative is informed and gripping… Berlin documents the high hopes for freedom, the desperate attempts to gain liberty, and the deep sense of disappointment and betrayal that led slaves to form conspiracies from Richmond, Virginia to Pointe Coupee, Louisiana. Wood, Brightleaf.

    source It is a story most Americans do not know… Berlin has written a sweeping history that builds upon the pioneering work of John Hope Franklin, John Blassingame, Eugene Genovese, Herbert Gutman and Edmund Morgan, and shines as both a comprehensive and astute synthesis of current scholarship and as an original contribution to the field. Swanson, The Chicago Tribune. Rosendorf, The Christian Science Monitor. Chambers, The Commercial Appeal. Berlin focuses in this latest work on what slavery meant during the s and s.

    Drawing upon Dutch, French, Spanish and English documents, he looks globally at how the African diaspora of slaves shaped North American communities. Carstarphen, The Dallas Morning News. So says Berlin, who chronicles the slave experience in the years— to —that preceded the antebellum period.

    The book is a work of synthesis, harvesting the research and insights of hundreds of historians who have focused on one place, time, or issue. Though the book contains no original archival research, it is a rare student of the American past who will not be surprised by something in virtually every chapter.


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    • It is the pattern of slavery that is significant here, the variations and consistencies across the continent and across the centuries. Berlin follows no one historiographical tradition, but weaves among several, taking the best of each… [The] combination of context and change, as well as negotiation and material grounding, gives Berlin a nuanced, yet powerful way of understanding slavery. Berlin manages to portray slavery as both fundamentally important and highly contingent, an analytical juggling act that would have failed in less skillful hands.

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      Ayers, The Historian. He provides a clearer picture of slavery, which has often been clouded by imprecise accounts. Hardin, The Lexington Herald Leader. It is a benchmark study from which students will learn and with which scholars will grapple for many years to come. It required major demolition—the Civil War—to begin to renovate the structure that slavery and racism built.

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