Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland” as Want to Read:
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.59  ·  Rating details ·  608 ratings  ·  148 reviews
From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions

In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abd
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published February 26th 2019 by Doubleday Books (first published November 1st 2018)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Say Nothing, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Sofi I recommend that you directly contact support about it at:

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  608 ratings  ·  148 reviews

Sort order
Harrowing. I’ve always wanted a book that could describe simply and clearly what happened in Ireland during The Troubles. Not being Irish, I’ve too often felt the pall of incomprehensibility daunting me. I never found the right book, until now. Say Nothing is indeed that longed-for book. The prose is just perfectly freighted, and the reader is hoovered into the narrative maelstrom from the very first page with the mad scene of Jean McConville being torn from the arms of her huge and loving famil ...more
I wish it weren't only February because the statement 'this is the best book I've read all year' does not carry very much weight when we still have 10 months to go. But, nonetheless, this is my reigning book of 2019. And it ended up being one of those rare cases when the book turned out so differently from what I expected, but I ended up liking it all the more for that. From the blurb I got the impression that this was going to focus on the disappearance of a woman called Jean McConville, with d ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs-read
Wow. Very impressive, Radden Keefe, very impressive.

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland is an intricate and moving piece of narrative nonfiction concerning The Troubles in the North of Ireland, particularly centered in Belfast, beginning in 1969 through the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

Bookending Radden Keefe's extraordinary compilation of these events is the story of a mother of ten, Jean McConville, who was forcibly taken from her home in late 1972, becoming one
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“[A] pair of dispassionate [IRA] gunmen were sent from Belfast. Before the killing, they summoned a priest. This was not unusual: there were certain priests in that era who grew accustomed to the late-night phone call. They would be summoned outside by gruff men who were about to perform an execution and asked to deliver the last rites. The act of killing itself had a ritual character, a practiced choreography…A bag is placed over your head. Your hands are bound behind your back. You kneel in th ...more
Valerity (Val)
I’ve always been under-informed about the situation in Ireland and reading Say Nothing was a great way to cure that problem. It gives great history on the long-standing feud between the Protestants and Catholics in Ireland, and the problem with England getting involved in Ireland’s affairs for hundreds of years. It shares the story of the widowed 38-year-old mum of 10, Jean McConville, who is taken from her apartment one December night in 1972 by a threatening masked group, (IRA, but unsaid) and ...more
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
After reading a history-rich fictional pentalogy about the Irish struggles, I could not help but turn to Patrick Radden Keefe’s book. Keefe takes the reader into the heart of the Anglo-Irish conflict, particularly as it developed in Northern Ireland (or the North of Ireland, depending on which side you support). Keefe explores how the simmering tensions of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) against the British Army and Ulster (Protestant) majority in the six remaining counties turned out to be some ...more
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Breathtakingly haunting and good.

Patrick Radden Keefe tells the story of the conflict in Northern Ireland between the Irish nationalists, the Catholics, and the unionists, the Protestants, in a time described as The Troubles.

This book is very well researched, it is harrowing and it focuses largely on the human cost.

I believed myself to be relatively well-informed on this topic before I read this book. I wasn't.

I cannot recommend highly enough!

Thank you to Doubleday, Patrick Radden Keefe and Net
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Blazin' banshees!
Unbelievably bloody brutality....
lyin' Gerry feckin' Adams....
Who in feck did he tink tey were to judge, condemn and take lives and destroy families?
Donna Davis
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the Irish struggle.
The Irish have fought against oppressive British rule for centuries, but for many the most interesting—and for some of us, emotionally charged—period is that known as The Troubles, which unfolded in 1969 as Irish youth, inspired by the Cuban Revolution and the Civil Rights movement in the United States, sought to carve out some rights for working people living in the North of Ireland and concluded in 1997 following the ceasefire agreement struck between Sinn Fein, which was then the political ar ...more
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe details the decades-long bloody conflict, known as The Troubles, in Northern Ireland between all factions involved.

Through the book, Keefe does an excellent job of bringing forward the history of the conflict in an understandable way for all readers. In his detailing of the violence, Keefe aptly provides the reader with enough explanation that shows this is not just a Catholic or Protestant conflict, or for that matter, a British or Irish conflict either (one
Susan Johnson
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I generally don't read non-fiction but the two best books I have read this year are that genre and this is one of them. I have always wanted to read a clear, concise and understandable book about the Irish troubles. I am going to admit my prejudices here. I have never understood why anyone would want the British in their country. Now I get it, for their protection. I think the U.S. sympathy was always with the IRA and I remember the activism in the 1970's for them. I think this is our natural i ...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Mar 15, 2019 marked it as to-read
Buddy read with my bestie
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, ireland
One of the most eye opening and gut wrenching pieces of non fiction that I’ve read. Highly recommended for anyone curious about the conflict in Northern Ireland
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I grew up during the Troubles and many of the events described in this narrative are chillingly familiar to me. Keefe’s book is meticulously researched and I was gripped from start to finish.
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wrote this review for Really Into This

Check out all of our reviews at
Happy Reading, friends!

A deep dive into the crime-ridden & tumultuous history of Northern Ireland.

Immediately, I need to know what happened to Jean McConville. As soon as the mother of ten is kidnapped from her home, I’m fully invested in this book. Jean’s story is terrifying & my heart breaks for her ten children.

Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
This review can also be found on my blog!

CW: death, kidnapping, anorexia, starvation, forced feeding, alcoholism, and drug use

Right as I finished this book, my first thought was: “What a shame that the murder got lost in this book.” There was lots of murder, but the murder that this book was supposedly about got lost in the story. Lost as Jean McConville was in reality.

This book is a fine book. I learned a whole hell of a lot. See, I was born around the time that The Troubles ended. I also wasn’
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, arc, own-read
I finished this book over the weekend, and I’m still reeling from the weight of it in the best way possible. As an outsider, it is difficult to understand the implications of a conflict that has its roots in centuries past, but which still affects the lives of people in Northern Ireland today. Keefe’s book helps to unveil several of the central players in The Troubles, and to explore the difficulty of compiling a historical account of a conflict that no one who is involved wants to talk about.
Scott  Hitchcock
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

When I read Malazan I often think of Darujhistan or other cities as being similar to those in Asia, Africa or the Middle East. Even Lether reminds me more of the US. This crazy real life story happening in Ireland and England could be straight out of that world with assassins, bombs going off like magic, hunger strikes and protests, influences crossing global lines.

Even within the Irish community the hatred and mistrust between the Catholics and the Protestants where you weren't safe cros
Leah Green
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Intricately detailed story about the conflict between the Protestants and the Catholics. History reimagined. Gripping and harrowing. Strong Characters. A must read for anyone curious about the history in Ireland. Touches on the IRA, The Troubles, and the English meddling in Irish politics. From the beginning to the aftermath. The struggle that divided an entire country. An absolute must read.
Steven Z.
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In reading Patrick Radden Keefe’s new book, SAY NOTHING: A TRUE STORY OF MURDER AND MEMORY IN NORTHERN IRELAND one has the feel they are inhaling a novel, a work of fiction that is drawing them into a complex plotline where it is hard to discern what is fact and what is fiction. But Keefe’s work is not fiction, but a recounting of the brutal events that are part of the history of Northern Ireland from the 1960s onward that includes extreme violence, personal heroism, ideological commitment, indi ...more
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it
From the description of this book, I thought it was mostly about Jean McConville, the woman who disappeared during the Troubles. And I thought that the history of the Troubles would come second, but I was much mistaken. Jean is barely mentioned in the first half of the book and instead we are treated to an in depth discussion of what the Troubles were and what led to them, with introductions to far too many characters for me to keep track of. The more I read, the more I wished the author would f ...more
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My great grandmother emigrated from Londonderry in Northern Ireland to Chicago in 1880. She was a Orangewoman and hated Catholics with a vengeance. She passed that hatred down to my grandmother who every St. Patrick's Day would hang an orange banner on ther front porch of her house that read, "ONE KING, ONE CROWN, NO POPE IN OUR TOWN." As a young child, I just thought she was nuts and she became a figure of un in my young life. That is, until I traveled to the UK in the 1970's and saw first hand ...more
Jo Sorrell
This work set to be published February 2019 and is already getting stunning reviews from the likes of David Grann and Gillian Flynn. I feel it a privilege to add my two cents. This is an intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions? The book starts with a bang! December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, is dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her agai ...more
Anna Brunskill
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an extraordinary book. Patrick Radden Keefe does an outstanding job of bringing the complexities and atrocities of the Troubles (on all sides) vividly to life. It raises as many questions as it answers, not least about the difficulties of bringing peace that lasts from a centuries-old conflict. Highly recommended.
Lindsey Gandhi
If you have ever been interested or intrigued or curious about the history of conflict and fighting in Northern Ireland, then this is the book for you!! I fall into that category and was very interested to read this, especially after seeing strong reviews for it. The amount of research that went into this book is simply astonishing.
So what happened to Jean McConville? It's fascinating how the disappearance of the mother of ten brought light onto the unraveling of much of the conflict and the pl
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Patrick Radden Keefe calls Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland a work of "narrative nonfiction," and that is an apt description for Keefe manages to weave a condensed narrative out of his well documented research into the Northern Ireland Conflict, better know as "The Troubles." The narrative focuses mainly on three celebrated names from the Provisional IRA, and the family of Jean McConville one of their victims. From the story that builds on the relationship betwe ...more
Meag McKeron
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, nonfiction
My dad left Ireland for America in the 80s. He’s a quiet man, who has only every made offhand comments about growing up Catholic in Northern Ireland. I don’t think I ever understood the magnitude of his situation until 2 of his sisters, my aunts, came to visit us last summer. They were much more forthcoming about their childhood - growing up without running water or electricity, not being able to get good housing or jobs because they were Catholic. I was shocked. Hearing all of their recollectio ...more
Aimee Dars
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shortly after beginning Say Nothing, I realized how little I knew of The Troubles. Although Keefe would be the first to admit his book isn’t a comprehensive history, I found it an intriguing segway into this difficult time in Northern Ireland’s history.

Say Nothing centers on four figures: Jean McConville, a thirty-eight year old mother of ten who was taken from her home by a group of intruders in December 1972 as her children hung from her limbs; Dolours Price, a young, glamorous IRA volunteer w
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
A page turner
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime, giveaways
A fascinating read about the Troubles, which I admittedly knew very little about prior to reading "Say Nothing." Patrick Radden Keefe created a compelling, thorough, and extremely readable book that reads more like a novel than historical non-fiction. The characters (real people, some still alive) are complex and flawed and murderous and, somehow, relatable. I was enthralled by the descriptions of Belfast and the culture of Northern Ireland, and I find myself hungry to learn more. Highly, highly ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
NPR Book Club: Book for March 2019-Say Nothing 1 10 Mar 01, 2019 10:58AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Combine Editions - "Say Nothing" by Patrick Radden Keefe 2 13 Dec 31, 2018 07:41AM  
  • The Last Stone: A Masterpiece of Criminal Interrogation
  • The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper
  • Ugly Prey: An Innocent Woman and the Death Sentence That Scandalized Jazz Age Chicago
  • The Axeman of New Orleans: The True Story
  • Law & Disorder: The Chaotic Birth of the NYPD
  • In the Name of the Children: An FBI Agent's Relentless Pursuit of the Nation's Worst Predators
  • The New York Times Book of Crime: More Than 166 Years of Covering the Beat
  • The Courtesan and the Gigolo: The Murders in the Rue Montaigne and the Dark Side of Empire in Nineteenth-Century Paris
  • Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster
  • The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present
  • Burned: A Story of a Murder and the Crime that Wasn't
  • Tong Wars: The Untold Story of Vice, Money, and Murder in New York's Chinatown
  • Set at Random
  • Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World's Most Famous Detective Writer
  • Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee
  • My Soul Is Rested: Movement Days in the Deep South Remembered
  • Sexy Beasts: The True Story of the "Diamond Geezers" and the Record-Breaking $100 Million Hatton Garden Heist
  • Murder by the Book: A Sensational Chapter in Victorian Crime
Patrick Radden Keefe is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of The Snakehead and Chatter. His work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Slate, New York, and The New York Review of Books. He received the 2014 National Magazine Award for Feature Writing, for his story "A Loaded Gun," was a finalist for the National Magazine Award for Reporting in 2015 and 2016, and is also t ...more
“Claude Lévi-Strauss once observed that, “for the majority of the human species, and for tens of thousands of years, the idea that humanity includes every human being on the face of the earth does not exist at all. The designation stops at the border of each tribe, or linguistic” 0 likes
More quotes…