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On the Blanket: The Inside Story of the IRA Prisoners' "Dirty" Protest
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On the Blanket: The Inside Story of the IRA Prisoners' "Dirty" Protest

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  146 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
The H Block protest is one of the strangest and most controversial issues in the tragic history of Northern Ireland. Republican prisoners, convicted of grave crimes through special courts and ruthless interrogation procedures, campaigned for political status by refusing to wear prison clothes and daubing their cell with excrement.Were they properly convicted criminals, or ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 17th 2002 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1980)
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Edward Gardner
Jun 14, 2009 Edward Gardner rated it really liked it
The true story of the appalling conditions at Long Kesh prison in Belfast. And the Irish prisoners who died while protesting with a hunger strike in 1981. They requested 5 things:

1 The right not to wear a prison uniform;
2 The right not to do prison work;
3 The right of free association with other prisoners, and to organize educational and recreational pursuits;
4 The right to one visit, one letter and one parcel per week;
5 Full restoration of remission lost through the protest.

Margaret Thatcher de
Jun 15, 2013 Michaelfortin2013 rated it really liked it
Tim Pat Coogan is the definitive Historian of modern Irish history and the conflict between Unionists and Nationalists. And there is no more knowledgeable expert on the Irish Republican Army. In this book on the 1981 Irish Hunger Strikers, Coogan begins with the conditions that led up to the 'dirty protest' and does a great job of describing the political battle over determining whether or not to go on hunger strike. In the end, it was the will of one man, Bobby Sands, pitted against the will of ...more
Jack Stephens
Feb 02, 2013 Jack Stephens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good investigative report by the author. While he doesn't delve into a deep sociological study of the Nationalist and Unionist populations in Northern Ireland (as this is an investigative piece) he does a decent job in interviewing the prisoners (both Nationalist and Unionist), their families, the guards, and civil servants and unobtrusively lets them deliver their views with a little bit of historical background to add context. Some of the best reporting in the book (beyond the condition ...more
Feb 11, 2008 Mira rated it really liked it
Good book. Found out about it through a song. Very in-depth portrayal of the Irish prison system in the North during the troubles. If you want to know what people are capable of doing to each other (and what they are willing to withstand) no matter what you believe, this book will open your eyes.
Apr 24, 2007 Meredith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the chapter about the women's prisons. If you want to learn more about the Irish Conflict I strongly suggest you read this book. It's slightly bias in its writing but still good.
Puck Duimdus
Apr 15, 2013 Puck Duimdus rated it really liked it
Historic insight into the 'troubles' by an extremely well informed contemporary investigative journalist.
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  • Belfast Diary: War as a Way of Life
  • Killing Rage
  • Before the Dawn: An Autobiography
  • Rebel Hearts: Journeys Within the IRA's Soul
  • Provos: The IRA & Sinn Fein
  • A Secret History of the IRA: Gerry Adams and the Thirty Year War
  • Making Sense of the Troubles: The Story of the Conflict in Northern Ireland
  • Nothing But an Unfinished Song: Bobby Sands, the Irish Hunger Striker Who Ignited a Generation
  • The Price of My Soul
  • Rebels: The Irish Rising of 1916
  • Bandit Country: The IRA & South Armagh
  • Those Are Real Bullets: Bloody Sunday, Derry, 1972
  • The Oxford History of Ireland
  • The Green Flag, Vols 1-3
  • The Shankill Butchers: The Real Story of Cold-Blooded Mass Murder
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Timothy Patrick Coogan is an Irish historical writer, broadcaster and newspaper columnist. He served as editor of the Irish Press newspaper from 1968 to 1987. Today, he is best known for his popular and sometimes controversial books on aspects of modern Irish history, including The IRA, Ireland Since the Rising, On the Blanket, and biographies of Michael Collins and Éamon de Valera.
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