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  • Say Nothing

  • A True Story Of Murder and Memory In Northern Ireland
  • By: Patrick Radden Keefe
  • Narrated by: Matt Blaney
  • Length: 14 hrs and 43 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (379 ratings)

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Say Nothing

By: Patrick Radden Keefe
Narrated by: Matt Blaney
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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2019, shortlisted for the National Book Award for Nonfiction 2019, a Time’s number one Best Nonfiction Book of 2019 and New York Times best-seller.

One night in December 1972, Jean McConville, a mother of 10, was abducted from her home in Belfast and never seen alive again. Her disappearance would haunt her orphaned children, the perpetrators of this terrible crime and a whole society in Northern Ireland for decades.

In this powerful, scrupulously reported book, 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)

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excellent

Not usually my genre but found the historic detail of events FANTASTIC.
I am Australian and Female yet still found it a fantastic, well spoken narrative of 'the troubles'

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Haunting

When you have the space, time and peace of mind, listen to Matthew Blaney reading for you, "Say Nothing" by Patrick Radden Keefe on Audiobooks. It will transport your soul to The Falls and the Divis Flats and you'll come to know the sorrowful tale of Dolours Price and her wee sister Marian. You'll shed a tear at Brendan Hughes profound sense of abandonment by Adams... "what were we killing and dying for?"
You'll learn what happened to Jean McConville whose death made orphans of her ten children.
The drink got Hughes and Price in the end. They tried in vain to drown and silence the daemons of wartorn memories. When the Republican leadership forsook the armed struggle many volunteers felt criminalised and devalued, having lived as brave heroes facing martyrdom. Most galling to those who served under him was Adam's steadfast refusal to acknowledge membership of The 'RA.
It's powerful stuff, harrowing yet ultimately uplifting in that Dolours and Brendan are finally heard: be haunted by their plaintive, proud, defiant voices from the grave.

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Amazing Read

This is a brilliant book about a dark period in Irish history. With a lot of info based on interviews with the actual participants in The Troubles. It helps put a lot of the actions into perspective and give an understanding of the participants mindsets at the time and often covers their subsequent reflections too.
I could not recommend this book higher.

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A sobering look into tragedy

After hearing the story of Jean McConville and listening to a history of the key figures of the IRA it is hard to say I come from a republican family. The book focuses on telling as much of the truth as the author was able to wrest from those interviewed. In a way there could not be a more fitting title for a tale of truth hidden by things left unsaid. I really feel like I learned something new about this dark period in Irish history.

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A compelling account of hidden history

Another excellent work of exhaustive research and compelling narrative from Patrick Radden Keefe, one of the finest long form journalists I've read. The book invests the story with a sense of time and place that gives it a lived-in immediacy and amplifies the sense of loss, confusion and betrayal that was emblematic of this tragic period of Northern Irish history. Well recommended

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Amazing

Nuanced, poignant, extremely well written.

The reader was enjoyable to listen to, though a bit slow.

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really good

only lost a star on the profomance side due to the elongate pausing between words. think this has more to do with recording than the reader, towards the end of the book.

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A brilliant book

From one terrible incident during The Troubles this brilliant book brings the period to vibrant life. The people, the tragedies, and the long reach of injustice and brutality into the present are all here. The research has clearly been wide ranging and the product is an authoritative and fascinating book. The narrator is perfectly suited to the text and reads wonderfully.

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Excellently researched and presented

It's clear that extensive research and work went into Say Nothing, which I appreciate greatly. The book looks at The Troubles, focussing on the story of a missing mother from Belfast and some other key figures. The author presents the events as clearly as can be done, putting them in historical context and giving insight into the actions and decisions made.
Say Nothing gave me a deeper appreciation for The Troubles and the people who endured it.

My only issue is that occasionally the editing is a little clunky, leaving a few strange pauses, but it's certainly not enough to detract from the otherwise high quality narration.

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An amazing story and story teller

One of the best audio books I’ve listened too. An incredibly balanced account on a complex and recent struggle. Well worth listening to.

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