The IRA: The Irish Republican Army is an interesting book, not least because it attempts a sociological as well as an historical and political analysis of the terrorist group that probably led the world in modern terrorism. This, naturally, will cause some controversy precisely because it attempts to analyse rather than just provide a narrative account of the IRA. As such it suggests a slightly older style than post-modernists or politically correct academics would appreciate and certainly places it in the ‘revisionist’ camp of Irish studies that tries to critically analyse the movement by applying a scientific method, in alternative to anti-revisionists who oppose ‘scientific’ Irish studies and try to maintain the traditional nationalist narrative (Brady 1995; Boyce & O’Day 1996).
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