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Say Nothing

A True Story of Murder and Memory In Northern Ireland
Narrated by: Matthew Blaney
Length: 14 hrs and 43 mins
5 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)
Non-member price: $21.26
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Publisher's Summary

A shocking true story of murder, extreme politics and the deep scars left by the Troubles in Ireland of the 1970s and the human consequences. A taut tale of murder, extreme politics, institutionalised violence and the deep scars left by such turmoil. 

In this powerful, scrupulously reported audiobook, Patrick Radden Keefe offers not just a forensic account of a brutal crime but a vivid portrait of the world in which it happened. The tragedy of an entire country is captured in the spellbinding narrative of a handful of characters, presented in lyrical and unforgettable detail.

A poem by Seamus Heaney inspires the title: 'Whatever You Say, Say Nothing'. By defying the culture of silence, Keefe illuminates how a close-knit Irish society fractured; how people chose sides in a conflict and turned to violence; and how, when the shooting stopped, some ex-combatants came to look back in horror at the atrocities they had committed, while others continue to advocate violence even today. 

Say Nothing deftly weaves the stories of Jean McConville and her family with those of Dolours Price, the first woman to join the IRA as a front line soldier, who bombed the Old Bailey when she was barely out of her teens; Gerry Adams, who helped bring an end to the fighting but denied his own IRA past; Brendan Hughes, a fearsome IRA commander who turned on Adams after the peace process and broke the IRA's code of silence; and other indelible figures. By capturing the intrigue, the drama, and the profound human cost of the Troubles, the book presents a searing chronicle of the lengths that people are willing to go to in pursuit of a political ideal and the ways in which societies mend - or don't - in the aftermath of a long and bloody conflict.

©2018 Patrick Radden Keefe (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Smart, searching, and utterly absorbing, Say Nothing sweeps us into the heart of one of the modern world's bitterest conflicts and, with unusual compassion, walks us back out again along the road to reconciliation. This is more than a powerful, superbly reported work of journalism. It is contemporary history at its finest." (Maya Jasanoff)

"Keefe uses the old Irish phrase, 'Whatever you say, say nothing,' to suggest and to say just about everything. His great accomplishment is to capture the tragedy of the Troubles on a human scale. By tracing the intersecting lives of a handful of unforgettable characters, he has created a deeply honest and intimate portrait of a society still haunted by its own violent past. A bracing, empathetic, heartrending work of storytelling." (Colum McCann)

"A shattering, intimate study of how young men and women consumed by radical political violence are transformed by the history they make, and struggle to come to terms with the blood they have shed, Say Nothing is a powerful reckoning. Keefe has written an essential book." (Philip Gourevitch)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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couldn't 'put it down'

Narrated like a thriller, impeccably researched, very listenable and important work, kept me enthralled right through to the end.

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Chilling, gripping and sophisticated

This is a carefully woven narrative of multiple layers of ‘truths’, told with care and constructed well for maximum ‘punch’.

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Enthralling account of the Troubles.

The narration was top notch, Matthew Blakey’s voice is very calming! Sometimes there were long pauses in strange places though which may be due to editing? A thoroughly researched account of the events preceding, during and following the Troubles; that kept me enthralled, I just wanted to keep listening and learning more.

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  • Jings
  • 06-03-2019

Immense, powerful, exquisite and raw.

I haven't 'connected' to a book in a long time as I have this one. It's beautifully crafted, it pulls no punches, but doesn't glorify, justify or condemn the history. I remember the horrors of the Troubles as a child, hearing it on the news, and this is a perfectly pitched perspective on a few characters involved.
If you read or listen to one non-fiction book this year, make it this.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Martin F
  • 28-12-2018

touts know the rules!

enjoyed this story. have to agree with an earlier reviewer that the narrator annoyed me with some of the basic words that he mispronounced like the river foggon (faughan), drinking in a shebben (shebeen), solicitor pat finnegan (finucane) and others, although it was mostly ok
although he only gets a fleeting mention, the worst of the old ruc in the form of drew harris has yet to materialise

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-12-2018

Great book but terrible narration

Quite an in-depth work focussing on the Boston College tapes and interviews with Brendan “ Darkie” Hughes & Dolores Price, both former IRA Volunteers & neither will need any introduction to a student of Irish history.

Very interesting insights to the people now known as “ The Disappeared “ and also the infamous “ Stakeknife” aka Freddie Scapatticci.

An extremely worthwhile book that was only let down by some extremely poor narration on the audio book. The narrator quite often mispronounced even the simplest of words. This did not detract greatly from the book, more of a continual annoyance!

Big thank you to Mackers for his part in it all.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Caomhin
  • 13-05-2019

Interesting account

Really enjoyed listen, chronological listing of events that allows people who know little about events in the North of Ireland to have a better understanding.

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  • Kenneth
  • 01-05-2019

One of the best books in my audiobook library

Having lived through the troubles as a young man this brilliantly researched book brought me back to those terrible days and at times I could feel old memories and emotions rising again. A privilege to listen to the journey through the book and an emotional necessity to leave it behind now. Bad old days. Sad old days.

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  • bob
  • 18-04-2019

excellently researched

reads like a novel and doesn't romanticise the subject but brings a brutal truth to this account without making the reader uncomfortable.

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  • Chris F
  • 10-04-2019

Meticulously researched story from the troubles

This is a well researched story of the disappearance and murder of Jean McConville in Belfast in 1972.

Using multiple sources going over many years, it tells the stories of several people, with a focus on the disappearance of Jean, a widowed mother of 10. The author is honest about sources and how there is bias in every telling, but I felt it was a balanced and fair telling.

The story focuses on Dolours Price and her sister, along with Gerry Adams and Brendan Hughes amongst others. It is engaging and frank. Some passages are upsetting.

It is not a history of the troubles in Northern Ireland, although it does encompass some incidents that listeners may remember.

The timeline is sometimes confused and will jump one decade to another, but it is possible to understand.

There is a real problem with the editing in many chapters, with long pauses at inappropriate times where the editor has not removed gaps properly. In some chapters it makes the listening experience frustrating, as the pause can sometimes imply the end of a sentence, or sound like it is being done for effect when it is no such thing and simply a poorly edited narration.

This does not occur until about 1/3rd of the way in and a couple of later chapters do not suffer from it, but it is a very distracting.

The only other issue is that the author chose not to include what sounded like extensive notes that were in the printed version. These would apparently explain where there are disputes about the stories told, or seeming discrepancies. I understand that this could have been distracting, but I believe they could have been included and it is a shame they weren't.

Despite this, I very much enjoyed listening to the book and recommend it to anyone with an interest in the troubles.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-04-2019

Insightful

A fantastic account of some of the most poignant times of the troubles. A must read / listen to anyone that is interested in this period of history.

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  • ahooke
  • 11-01-2019

Interesting but could have been shorter

Some parts I already knew and interesting information but the core subject keeps getting repeated and going over. If true makes you wonder how Gerry Adams has survived so long.
I don't agree with their politics which started quite one sided but eventually evened it up some what but a good read for historical facts

1 of 2 people found this review helpful