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WINNER OF THE ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL WRITING 2019
A BARACK OBAMA BEST BOOK OF 2019
SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NONFICTION 2019
TIME’s #1 Best Nonfiction Book of 2019
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
‘A must read’ Gillian Flynn
One night in December 1972, Jean McConville, a mother of ten, was abducted from her home in Belfast and never seen alive again. Her disappearance would haunt her orphaned children, the perpetrators of the brutal crime and a whole society in Northern Ireland for decades.
Through the unsolved case of Jean McConville’s abduction, Patrick Radden Keefe tells the larger story of the Troubles, investigating Dolours Price, the first woman to join the IRA, who bombed the Old Bailey; Gerry Adams, the politician who helped end the fighting but denied his IRA past; and Brendan Hughes, an IRA commander who broke their code of silence. A gripping story forensically reported, Say Nothing explores the extremes people will go to for an ideal, and the way societies mend – or don’t – after long and bloody conflict.
‘10 Best Books of 2019’ – The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Slate, NPR’s Fresh Air
‘Best History Book of 2019’ – Amazon
‘10 Best Nonfiction Books of 2019’ – TIME
‘10 Best Nonfiction Books of the Decade’ – Entertainment Weekly
‘20 Best Nonfiction Books of the Decade’ – Literary Hub
‘10 Best True Crime Books of the Decade’ – CrimeReads
About the author
Patrick Radden Keefe is a staff writer at the New Yorker magazine and the author of two critically acclaimed books, The Snakehead and Chatter. He received the National Magazine Award for Feature Writing in 2014, was a finalist for the National Magazine Award for Reporting in 2015 and 2016, and is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellowship at the New America Foundation. A former Marshall scholar, he holds Master’s degrees from Cambridge University and the London School of Economics, and a law degree from Yale. He lives in New York
New Yorker staff writer Keefe (Snakehead) incorporates a real-life whodunit into a moving, accessible account of the violence that has afflicted Northern Ireland. The mystery concerns Jean McConville, a widowed mother of 10, who was snatched from her Belfast home by an IRA gang in 1972. While Keefe touches on historical antecedents, his real starting point is the 1960s, when advocates of a unified Ireland attempted to emulate the nonviolent methods of the American civil rights movement. The path from peaceful protests to terrorist bombings is framed by the story of Dolours Price, who became involved as a teenager and went on to become a central figure in the IRA. While formal charges were never brought against republican leader Gerry Adams in McConville's murder, Keefe makes a persuasive case that McConville was killed at his order for being an informer to the British and the author's dogged detective work enables him to plausibly name those who literally pulled the trigger. Tinged with immense sadness, this work never loses sight of the humanity of even those who committed horrible acts in support of what they believed in. Due to a production error, this review was not starred when originally published, though it should have been.