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Fifty Dead Men Walking
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Fifty Dead Men Walking

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  655 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
For four years, Martin McGartland lived a remarkable double life, a life not even known to the mother of his two children. To the Irish Republican Army, he was a trusted intelligence officer and integral member of an activist terrorist unit. To the British government, he was "Agent Carol". By night he helped plan bombings and shootings of innocent people, by day he passed ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 1st 1998 by John Blake Publishing Ltd (first published September 1st 1997)
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Trigo Neo IRA, the Ira is significant threat for act of terrorism and it was also threat for Martin to be found out he was a double agent.

Community Reviews

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Rhonda Heyns
Aug 06, 2012 Rhonda Heyns rated it it was amazing
This book was written by the man who lived the life of a Special Branch agent infiltrating the IRA. it is written just as he speaks, and as a result is an easy read, easy to understand to the average person. What Martin went through to help his country and save lives is nothing short of phenomenal.

While the story is true, the movie inspired by the book has been doctored for Hollywood and view-ability. Read the book first, take the movie with a grain of salt.
May 27, 2012 Helen rated it really liked it
read the book and avoid the movie
Jenny Karraker
Jun 13, 2013 Jenny Karraker rated it it was amazing
Having gone to college in the 70's when there was much in the news about the Troubles in Ireland, later living in a northeastern city with a large Irish population, and then visiting Northern Ireland 20 years later, I found this book fascinating. Though Irish and resenting the British occupation/presence and their rough handling of the Catholic people, the author was even more resentful of the harsh treatment by the IRA of their own people. On my trip to Portrush one summer, I observed the ...more
Sep 03, 2013 Damon rated it really liked it
This was the latest book in my quest to understand more of the part of the world where I was conceived and have my roots. Having been born in London of Belfast protestant parents and then adopted (completely coincidentally) in to a family with its roots in Belfast's catholic community, one of whom died in an act of sectarian violence in 1972, the subject grips me and I feel compelled to know more, to understand. So did Martin McGartland assist my understanding, perhaps, but more interesting is ...more
Apr 21, 2015 Sam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, biography
This is an open and honest account of life working as an informer for the Special Branch from it's start as a young Catholic boy taunting the RUC and the British Army to it's finish as a retired informer hiding from IRA execution squads on the Mainland. McGartland is honest about his views throughout and admits that his views have changed during his life following various events in Northern Ireland. He writes as he would speak, that is readable and more accessible than many of the texts on life ...more
Elliot Richards
Not a bad book, though its writing style left something to be desired and felt as though it was written by a teenager with its repetitive text. Without belittling the author's contribution to the security of others, he clearly loves himself, has an ego, and seems rather self-centered; when things don't go his way he likes to moan about it and is a hypocrite. I lost sympathy for him by the end.
Mar 17, 2013 Aaron rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Decent enough book. Written in a very straightforward, almost childish manner. 'I did this, then I did that'. Could have done with a lot more insight into why he turned against his childhood friends. If my family was subjected to that abuse by the British and RUC as a child it would take a hell of a lot for me to join them as an information. There is a lot here he is not telling us.
Mar 05, 2015 Jack rated it it was amazing
Interesting account of an IRA/RUC double agent. Good insider insight of "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland. This guy is a hero to his people.
daisy riddle
Nov 05, 2016 daisy riddle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Here is a petty criminal fighting back at the injustices of IRA thuggery, joining them at the behest of the security forces to gain inside knowledge to pass on. Typically they eventually let him down, and he was badly shot. I was frightened to turn a page, fearful of what could happen next. An amazing story and well done Martin for the lives saved.
mrs lisa middleton
Nothing like the film, till the very end

Thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish, what a man, brave or foolish?? Not sure they, but a must read imho
Tel Whiteman
Dec 10, 2016 Tel Whiteman rated it really liked it
Great book not so great film
Sep 16, 2016 Cynthia rated it liked it
More indepth below but I appreciated the book, didn't love it.

What I liked:
The theme - I am very interested in IRA/Troubles history and to have a story of someone who worked intimately on both sides (RUC/IRA) was very appealing.
The writing style - it's clear that Martin was not edited too much; this is not some man trying to be more than he is - his writing is simple clear and to the point. I appreciated his frankness; some autobiographies get too preachy and self-praising for me but Martin s
Ian Aviandy
Oct 17, 2015 Ian Aviandy rated it liked it
Selalu ada kisah menarik dari orang-orang yang terbuang. Apalagi dari orang-orang yang kalah dan tak bisa melakukan apapun setelah melakukan segalanya demi sesuatu yang barangkali mereka pikir bisa saja abadi. Novel ini jelas sekali menggambarkan betapa sesuatu yang tengah terlihat begitu lancar, begitu indah bisa tiba-tiba hilang tak berbekas, persis seperti realita yang tidak mengenal kata peringatan untuk suatu nasib. Dikisahkan tentang seorang yang bekerja untuk dua pihak, IRA dan pemerintah ...more
Sep 02, 2013 Claudine rated it really liked it
I read this twice, before and after the addition post his shooting in 1999. This book was turned into a film and that film is so different that the only thing they share is the title, so if you have seen the film and hated it (like I did) go ahead and read the book.

The book tells the story of Marty McGartland who joined the IRA to pass information back to the security forces. He was responsible for the foiled plots to kill 50 men...hence the title. His cover was blown and he was kidnapped and to
Steve Parcell
Aug 29, 2016 Steve Parcell rated it really liked it
I have always known about the troubles in Ireland and the IRA for many years but I have never read a book about how this affected someone at ground level.

Marty McGartland describes how he grows up as a child hating the British Army but then sees his friends and neighbours tortured or killed by IRA punishments squads and is angered and appalled by their cowardice.

He becomes a member of the IRA but at the same time works as a secret agent for the British secret service. This is his account of how
Aug 10, 2013 Donna rated it it was amazing
This is a very hard book to review, the terrible life the people live there is unbelievable. How in this day and time can this still go on??? You know that Martin felt that he was doing the right thing and he was but at what cost. Sure he did save a lot of lives, innocent lives, but look what it did to him and anyone connected to him. What is the RIGHT THING TO DO??? I'm glad that he and his family are all right and hopefully the British will wise up and help him and his family soon! Living ...more
Feb 23, 2010 Marla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very readable book on a complex subject. I suggest the book first, then the movie. It was hard for me to empathize with someone who deceived friends and family. The book portrayed the IRA justifiably as a terrorist organization that killed innocents without regard but did a poor job of portraying the Brits. Let's remember the Brits were a foreign country occupying Ireland with it's own form of terrorism and force. Would England tolerate on occupation by Germany? The IRA existed because of ...more
Helena R-D
Jun 29, 2016 Helena R-D rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a very pedestrian, but quite interesting look at what being a double agent would have been like in Belfast during the Troubles. Martin's prose is very straight forward, but prettying it up would have taken from the narrative and from the inner workings and day to day jobs he undertook.

He doesn't shy away from explaining his reasons and why he decided to play both sides and it is a snapshot of what was happening during that time. It is a snapshot of one time and one place and it kept me in
May 22, 2015 Nathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a child growing up in the 80's I would see the troubles in Northern Ireland on the news and not really understand what was going on and why. This day and age, post 9/11 all we seem to hear about are the radical Islamic terrorists and seem to forget the terrorism that was on our doorstep little over 10 years ago.

This book gives a good insight into how a young catholic man brought up on the Republican side of Belfast was so appalled at the actions of the IRA that he risked everything he had to
Leif Halverson
May 23, 2013 Leif Halverson rated it it was amazing
Such a complicated issue that has been well written. I purposefully read this before watching the film as I've heard McGartland said the film is pretty much pure fiction.
Absolute chaos has been going on across the Irish Sea for decades if not centuries due to the British Government; more English people need to read this.

It's like James Bond but raw, and not dolled up with a fucking Martini.
Jan 19, 2011 Jeanne rated it it was amazing
I actually watched the movie first and went back and read the book - on my smartphone's Kindle app, no less. Marty did things that most people wouldn't even consider...let alone doing them for people he didn't even know. He paid the price....and continues to this day to pay it, anonymous and without his family, somewhere in the world....if we all just had a little bit of his courage, the world would be a better place.
Stuart Tares
Nov 30, 2015 Stuart Tares rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2013
A very interesting read. Written in an easy to read manner, it explains the trials and tribulations of a man who risked his life each and every day for the betterment of Northern Ireland as a whole.

I am sure that there were other people who were in similar situations who would have reacted very differently and therefore there would have been a very different outcome.
1000 Cutts
Nov 23, 2015 1000 Cutts rated it liked it
I quite enjoyed this book and although the author clearly is clearly not the best writer the world will ever see he managed to convey the dangerous world of Belfast very well. I think he was pretty naive in what he was getting himself into. The great ending to this book proves that very point..

Right back to planning Xmas ...
Feb 06, 2016 Andrea rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book and found I could relate to a lot of the author's emotions. I could envisage different scenes and knew the roads and streets mentioned personally. I'm not sure how a non Northern/Irish person would revive the book but being Belfast born and living through the troubles I found it an interesting read.
Oct 05, 2014 Andreas_55 rated it liked it
Not so happy about this. He was a traitor and did what he did mainly for the money he got from the Special Branch. He likes to put himself in a very nice picture by saying he did it for the peace, blablabla. He likes to put the whole blame for the troubles on the IRA but forgets to mention the crimes and killings done by the british occupation army in Northern Ireland.
Nov 14, 2015 William rated it it was amazing
I stumbled on the movie and had to read the book. The book is FAR better. A book that kept my attention and opened my eyes to some of the ways the authorities battled the IRA. As well as how brutal the IRA has always been. I recommend this book to anyone with interest in the issues in Northern Ireland.
The details of the book are limited, yet interesting! There is no artistic value to the book, is like you read a court document, on a city train! With more details, true conversations or facts could be a very good book!
Nov 12, 2009 Debbie rated it did not like it
Interesting story but poorly written. You got no feelings of terror, suspense or anything else. We should have been scared by the situations he was in but he is not a writer. His editor should have assisted him as there was definitely a story to tell but it needed a better writer to narrate it.
Aug 10, 2013 Julisa rated it liked it
Terribly written (did he have an editor?!) but the personal story of the Troubles in Ireland kept me reading. It is a mind-boggling conflict and it hard to comprehend living with such constant violence as the norm.
Nov 20, 2015 krad rated it really liked it
Excellent, sobering first-hand account; the fear of being found out was incredibly palpable towards the end. Surprisingly nuanced insight on both sides, too; this was a solid introduction to that conflict.
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