Before the Dawn: An Autobiography

University of Notre Dame Pess
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In this fascinating memoir of his early life, Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Féin, describes the development of the modern “Troubles’’ in the North of Ireland, his experiences during that period, including secret talks with the British government and imprisonment, his leadership role in Sinn Féin, and the tragic hunger strike by imprisoned IRA prisoners in 1981. Born in 1948, Adams vividly recalls growing up in the working-class Ballymurphy district of West Belfast, where he became involved in the civil rights campaign in the late 1960s and was active in campaigns around issues of housing, unemployment, and civil rights. The unionist regime, which had been in interrupted power for 50 years, reacted violently to the protests, and the situation exploded into conflict. Adams recounts his growing radicalization, his work as a Sinn Féin activist and leader, his relationship with the IRA, and the British use of secret courts to condemn republicans. Adams was a political prisoner. He was arrested many times and recounts his torture. He spent a total of five years in the notorious Long Kesh prison camp. First as an internee, held without charge, and then as a sentenced prisoner after he made two failed attempts to escape. Adams chronicles the dramatic hunger strikes of Bobby Sands, Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh, and others in 1980–81 which saw ten men die. Though he opposed the hunger strike Adams was instrumental in organizing the mass campaign in support of the hunger strikers which saw Bobby Sands elected as a member of the British Parliament and Ciaran Doherty and Kevin Agnew elected to the Irish Parliament. Before the Dawn is an engaging and revealing self-portrait that is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand modern Ireland. First published in 1996—at a time when politics in the North of Ireland was in crisis and the Good Friday Agreement was still two years away—this new edition contains a brand new introduction and epilogue written by the author, covering Adams’s family, Brexit, and the peace process.
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About the author

Gerry Adams was president of Sinn Féin for more than three decades. He stepped down from that position on February 10, 2018. He remains a Teachta Dála (TD) for Louth East Meath until the next general election. He is the author of 16 books, including An Irish Eye and The New Ireland: A Vision for the Future. His books have won critical acclaim in many quarters and have been widely translated.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Notre Dame Pess
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Published on
Feb 28, 2018
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Pages
338
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ISBN
9780268103804
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Political
History / Europe / Ireland
Political Science / Political Freedom
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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He’s been imprisoned, shot at, denounced, shunned, and banned, yet Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams remains resolute in his belief that peace is the only viable option for the Irish people. Adams led the oldest revolutionary movement in Ireland on an extraordinary journey from armed insurrection to active participation in government. Now he tells the story of the tumultuous series of events that led to the historic Good Friday Agreement as only he can: with a tireless crusader’s conviction and an insider’s penetrating insight.

In vivid detail, Adams describes the harrowing attack on his life, and he offers new details about the peace process. We learn of previously undisclosed talks between republicans and the British government, and of conflicts and surprising alliances between key players. Adams reveals details of his discussions with the IRA leadership and tells how republicans differed, “dissidents” emerged, and the first IRA cessation of violence broke down. He recounts meetings in the Clinton White House, tells what roles Irish-Americans and South Africans played in the process, and describes the secret involvement of those within the Catholic Church. Then—triumphantly—this inspiring story climaxes with the Good Friday Agreement: what was agreed and what was promised.

Gerry Adams brings a sense of immediacy to this story of hope in what was long considered an intractable conflict. He conveys the acute tensions of the peace process and the ever-present sense of teetering on the brink of both joyous accomplishment and continued despair. With a sharp eye and sensitive ear for the more humorous foibles of political allies and enemies alike, Adams offers illuminating portraits of the leading characters through cease-fires and standoffs, discussions and confrontations. Among the featured players are John Major, Tony Blair, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jean Kennedy Smith, and Nelson Mandela.

As the preeminent republican strategist of his generation, Gerry Adams provides the first comprehensive account of the principles and tactics underpinning modern Irish republicanism. And in a world where peace processes are needed more urgently than ever, A Farther Shore provides a template for conflict resolution.


From the Hardcover edition.
The perfect St. Patrick's Day gift, and a book in the best tradition of popular history -- the untold story of Ireland's role in maintaining Western culture while the Dark Ages settled on Europe.

Every year millions of Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but they may not be aware of how great an influence St. Patrick was on the subsequent history of civilization. Not only did he bring Christianity to Ireland, he instilled a sense of literacy and learning that would create the conditions that allowed Ireland to become "the isle of saints and scholars" -- and thus preserve Western culture while Europe was being overrun by barbarians.

In this entertaining and compelling narrative, Thomas Cahill tells the story of how Europe evolved from the classical age of Rome to the medieval era. Without Ireland, the transition could not have taken place. Not only did Irish monks and scribes maintain the very record of Western civilization -- copying manuscripts of Greek and Latin writers, both pagan and Christian, while libraries and learning on the continent were forever lost -- they brought their uniquely Irish world-view to the task.

As Cahill delightfully illustrates, so much of the liveliness we associate with medieval culture has its roots in Ireland. When the seeds of culture were replanted on the European continent, it was from Ireland that they were germinated.

In the tradition of Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror, How The Irish Saved Civilization reconstructs an era that few know about but which is central to understanding our past and our cultural heritage. But it conveys its knowledge with a winking wit that aptly captures the sensibility of the unsung Irish who relaunched civilization.

BONUS MATERIAL: This ebook edition includes an excerpt from Thomas Cahill's Heretics and Heroes.
He’s been imprisoned, shot at, denounced, shunned, and banned, yet Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams remains resolute in his belief that peace is the only viable option for the Irish people. Adams led the oldest revolutionary movement in Ireland on an extraordinary journey from armed insurrection to active participation in government. Now he tells the story of the tumultuous series of events that led to the historic Good Friday Agreement as only he can: with a tireless crusader’s conviction and an insider’s penetrating insight.

In vivid detail, Adams describes the harrowing attack on his life, and he offers new details about the peace process. We learn of previously undisclosed talks between republicans and the British government, and of conflicts and surprising alliances between key players. Adams reveals details of his discussions with the IRA leadership and tells how republicans differed, “dissidents” emerged, and the first IRA cessation of violence broke down. He recounts meetings in the Clinton White House, tells what roles Irish-Americans and South Africans played in the process, and describes the secret involvement of those within the Catholic Church. Then—triumphantly—this inspiring story climaxes with the Good Friday Agreement: what was agreed and what was promised.

Gerry Adams brings a sense of immediacy to this story of hope in what was long considered an intractable conflict. He conveys the acute tensions of the peace process and the ever-present sense of teetering on the brink of both joyous accomplishment and continued despair. With a sharp eye and sensitive ear for the more humorous foibles of political allies and enemies alike, Adams offers illuminating portraits of the leading characters through cease-fires and standoffs, discussions and confrontations. Among the featured players are John Major, Tony Blair, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jean Kennedy Smith, and Nelson Mandela.

As the preeminent republican strategist of his generation, Gerry Adams provides the first comprehensive account of the principles and tactics underpinning modern Irish republicanism. And in a world where peace processes are needed more urgently than ever, A Farther Shore provides a template for conflict resolution.


From the Hardcover edition.
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