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The Crack Magazine


Killing Thatcher by Rory Carroll

I was intrigued by Killing Thatcher (The IRA, the Manhunt and the Long War on the Crown) as I was intrigued by Hilary Mantel’s The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher and Anthony Cartwright’s How I Killed Margaret Thatcher. Killing Thatcher, however, isn’t fiction although moulds itself into a fast-paced thriller about the plot by the IRA to assassinate Margaret Thatcher. A plot that was developed over several years as the IRA’s bomb making capabilities became increasingly sophisticated and deadly. It’s a compelling book that doesn’t leave those with little knowledge of The Troubles puzzled and needing to Google every ten minutes. If you know the history of those years, however, you’re left with more questions than answers about the plot and the man who planted the Brighton bomb. Who was the real Patrick Magee? He’s no longer a terrorist, is repentant, and has come through the peace process (and early release from prison) a ‘changed man’, but his years in the IRA remain opaque to say the least, partly because Magee was one of the true believers, a hard headed IRA man to the last, and understands even now that those with loose lips can face consequences. A good book, but not quite in the league of Patrick Radden Keefe’s dark and shocking masterpiece, Say Nothing (A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland).

Steven Long

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