The other week I read an article in The Guardian by Ian Cobain about a book he'd written titled Anatomy Of A Killing - Life And Death On A Divided Island. I found the article very interesting and by coincidence later that day I called to see a couple of friends. Before I mentioned the article one of the lads told me he had just met Harry Murray who told him that much of the book had been written about him and a few other lads. I've known Harry a long time and was in gaol with him for a number of years. He got life for killing an RUC man in Lisburn in 1978.
Cobain interviewed Harry plus two others who also got life for the killing - Micky Culbert and Gary Smith. I also met Micky in gaol and was on different blocks with him. Another man interviewed was Feilim Ó hAdmaill. Feilim was charged with the killing but after a number of months on remand in Crumlin Road gaol the charges were dropped. He was captured in England in the early 1990s and was given a heavy sentence. Like other Irish Republicans he was transferred to Long Kesh after the IRA ceasefires.
Without going into too much detail here all four were interrogated in Castlereagh RUC barracks at a time when the peelers tortured people. Cobain writes a lot about it and also about the death of Brian Maguire.
Cobain has written another very good book, Cruel Britannia, about Britain's role in countries such as Kenya, Aden and of course Ireland.
No doubt his critics would say he was sympathetic to Irish Republicanism in his latest book but I would argue anyone being objective about Britain's long involvement here can't be anything else.
If anyone wants to know more about the IRA in Belfast and especially about the operation carried out against the RUC man in Lisburn (the first to be killed in that town since Swanzy in 1920) then this is one such book. It also gives an historical context to the conflict. As soon as I started it I couldn't put it down and will no doubt read it again soon.
Ian Cobain, 2020, Anatomy Of A Killing - Life And Death On A Divided Island. Granta Publications. ISBN-13 : 978-1846276408