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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
Categories: History, European
5 out of 5 stars (59 ratings)

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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)

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

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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Powerful

I found this powerful and fascinating. There is so much detail and it just made me want to listen to it constantly. I wondered how he managed to put all of this info together. It was brilliant and I have recommended it to friends.

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Stunning Narrative

Tightly scored, beautifully performed. Thank you.
Fast paced ... paints the scene, the times, the leading characters...without authorial commentary...tells the compelling stories.
I could hardly put it down.
Thank you.

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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.

8 of 8 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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-09-2019

A very good read

This book was not what I expected. I had read a review and thought I would give it a try. It’s not usually what I would choose, not to mention I didn’t really have any interest in learning about ‘the troubles’ but this book totally captivated me. I cannot recommend enough . It is a true story which enables the listener to gain an insight into real events.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Penthesilea
  • 14-09-2019

Fascinating history

Superb book. The first one of its kind I've read or listened to and I couldn't stop listening. This is how non-fiction should be written.

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.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark O
  • 19-01-2020

too much history not enough psychology of maniacs.

Not so much a book about the missing Jean Mcconville but another fantasy to appeal to IRA sympathiser or Irish Americans (likely those who emptied their pockets into the NORAID collection boxes).
What we want is an unambiguous, honest approach to detailing the story of the disappeared. The truth about the utter brutality of a terrorist organisation who kept their communities in utter fear. Whether that be the humiliation of tar & feathering, knee capping, or as in the case of Jean a brutal beating prior to being put to death; moreso than any unionist controlled government.
The troubles are over, theres newspaper archives and released government papers to give a narrative. Let's get into the psychology of mans inhumanity to man (or woman).

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  • Lara Whyte
  • 16-01-2020

Pat Finucane pronounced wrong?

Amazing book but some fairly big pronuciation errors in the performance. The writing is excellent -you can tell the author spent a lot of time as some local expressions appear. Such vivid portraits.

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  • C A McDermott
  • 16-01-2020

Interesting but poor narration

I really enjoyed listening to the history told through this. As a ‘blow in’ to Northern Ireland I learned a lot through this. However, it was spoiled by the narration. The pace and strange breaks during sentences was really off putting. Also, there was strange pronunciation of some words. I persevered but it wasn’t as good as other books I’ve listened to.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 16-01-2020

Say Nothing

The excellent content of this book is the result of thorough research and in depth investigation. It is a gripping and compelling read / listen that throws light on a dark period in Irish hidtory known as The Troubles. However, as other reviewers have commented, the narration is very poor. As well as his mispronunciations of well known names of persons and places in Northern Ireland, the narrator sometimes pauses or hesitates before big words while his mind is working out how to pronounce them. His flat voice and lumbering style seemed to suggest that when recording the narration of this book he was encountering the text for the first time. I bought the book for its content and aware of the poor narration, else I would be asking for a refund.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-01-2020

history told as a thriller

Part true crime investigation, part narrative history of the Troubles. Spies, double agents, assainations, hunger strikes, jail breaks, covert investigations, conspiracies, cover ups, betrayal, lies...it's got the lot. Plus the audio is read by someone with a lovely Ulster accent.