The IRA and Armed Struggle  book cover
1st Edition

The IRA and Armed Struggle

ISBN 9780415396110
Published February 23, 2007 by Routledge
240 Pages

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Book Description

The IRA is one of the oldest terrorist organizations in the world and conducted a ferociously violent campaign for almost thirty years. Now deeply enmeshed in the Northern Ireland peace process, Rogelio Alonso asks why one of the bloodiest terrorist movements of our time decide to swap weapons for the ballot box?

Based on over seventy interviews conducted with former and existing members of the IRA, Alonso also provides a rigorous evaluation of the personal and political consequences of the IRA’s campaign of violence. The analysis of these interviews radically challenges the dominant academic analysis of Irish terrorism. This book includes a strong criticism of the armed struggle constructed around the discourse of those who waged it and answers the question faced by many armed revolutionary movements: ‘Was the war worth it?’

Translated from the critically acclaimed Matar por Irlanda and available in English for the first time, this is a provocative and new approach to understanding the IRA. It is essential reading for readers and researchers with an interest in Irish politics and history, terrorism and political violence.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  2. Apprenticeship  3. Defenders?  4. The Captive Mind  5. Hunger for Power  6. Losers  7. Winners  8. Conclusion: The Triumph of Failure   

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Rogelio Alonso is Lecturer in Politics and Terrorism at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, and coordinator of the Unit for the Documentation and Analysis of Terrorism recently created at the University. He has been a Research Fellow at the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research and the Institute of Irish Studies, both at the Queen’s University of Belfast. He is the author of La paz de Belfast (Madrid, 2000), Irlanda del Norte. Una historia de guerra y la búsqueda de la paz (Madrid, 2001), and Matar por Irlanda. El IRA y la lucha armada (Madrid, 2003). He is currently working on a comparative analysis of the conflicts in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country.


'This controversial and exciting book assesses the true effectiveness of the IRA's armed struggle and reaches profoundly significant conclusions about the outcome of the IRA's entire campaign. Seduced neither by politics nor propaganda, Rogelio Alonso provides us with not only a brilliant analysis of the IRA, but sets a new benchmark for primary research on terrorism.'- Dr John Horgan, University of St Andrews, UK

'...a must read for all students and scholars of terrorism and political violence.'
Shahid Bux, Univeristy of St. Andrews, UK