The conflict in Northern Ireland was one of the most devastating in post-war Europe, claiming the lives of 3,500 people and injuring many more. This book is a riveting new history of the radical politics that drove a unique insurgency that emerged from the crucible of 1968. Based on extensive archival research, One Man’s Terrorist explores the relationship between the IRA, a clandestine army described as ‘one of the most ruthless and capable insurgent forces in modern history’, and the political movement that developed alongside it to challenge British rule. From Wilson and Heath to Thatcher and Blair, a generation of British politicians had to face an unprecedented subversive threat whose reach extended from West Belfast to Westminster.
Finn shows how Republicans fought a war on several fronts, making use of every weapon available to achieve their goal of a united Ireland, from car bombs to election campaigns, street marches to hunger strikes. Though driven by an uncompromising revolutionary politics that blended militant nationalism with left-wing ideology, their movement was never monolithic, its history punctuated by splits and internal conflicts. The IRA’s war ultimately ended in stalemate, with the peace process of the 1990s and the Good Friday Agreement that has maintained an uneasy balance ever since.