THE CROWNED HARP:
POLICING NORTHERN IRELAND
Graham Ellison and Jim Smyth
This book provides a detailed analysis of policing in Northern Ireland. Tracing the history of the RUC, Ellison and Smyth portray an organization burdened by its past as a colonial police force. They analyze its association with unionism and why, for many nationalists, the RUC embodied the illegitimacy of Northern Ireland. Ellison is a lecturer in the Department of Criminology at Keele University in England. Smyth is a lecturer in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at Queen’s University, Belfast. From Pluto Press, distributed by Stylus Publishing (www.plutobooks.com). 240 pp. $25.
MOUNTJOY, THE STORY OF A PRISON
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In March 1850, several black horse-drawn prison vans clattered through the streets of Dublin to the new government prison on North Circular Road. Mountjoy was about to get its first prisoners, the first of nearly half a million that it has held. This book is a window into the history of the prison, an epic story with a cast that includes some of the most famous names in Irish history. From the Collins Press, Wilton, Cork; distributed in the U.S. by Dufour Editions, Chester Springs, Pa. ( 458-7103). 284 pp. $22.95.
THE BURNING OF BRIDGET CLEARY
In rural Ireland in 1895, many people believed in the fairies. And so, even before 26-year old Bridget Cleary disappeared from her cottage in Tipperary, it was rumored that she was “away with the fairies.” In fact, she had already been killed, her badly burned body buried in a shallow grave not far from her home. Her husband, Michael, and nine relatives and neighbors had subjected Bridget to torture to ascertain if she was the “real Bridget.” Convinced she was not, Michael Cleary eventually set fire to her, and she died in pain and terror with her own relatives watching. From Viking. 279 pp. $24.95.
THE BLACKWATER LIGHTSHIP
This story, set in Ireland in the early 1990s, is about three generations of an estranged family returning to mourn a tragic and untimely death. Helen, her mother, Lily, and her grandmother Mrs. Devereux-Dora have come together after a decade of bitter separation to tend to Helen’s beloved brother, Declan, who is dying of AIDS. This novel, about morals and manners, and clashes of culture and personality, was short-listed for the 1999 Booker Prize for fiction. From Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, New York (www.simonsays.com). 288 pp. $24.