Wasted Years, Wasted Lives, Volume 2
Volume 2 does what it says on the can - it continues from where the first volume left off. It looks at the bloody years of 1978 and 1979. It covers eyewitness accounts from soldiers on the ground and there is the occasional comment from civilians who were living in the troubled province at the time. There are accounts from the IRA atrocity at the la Mon Restaurant when the terrorists used a napalm-like device to incinerate 12 innocent civilians; it includes the murder of Lord Mountbatten, hero of Burma, and some of his family and staff on his yacht in Co Sligo. It also covers the worst tragedy for the Army in Ulster, the murder of 18 soldiers at Warrenpoint. Every single troubles-related death and every major incident is covered and includes those soldiers who died in 'non-battle' incidents, the ones who are not included in the 'official' figures. The book pulls no punches and the author is outspoken in his criticism of the Irish-American community and their incredibly naïve support of the Republican terrorists who almost destroyed an entire country. The author condemns in equal measure the paramilitaries of both sides and considers the evil activities of Lenny Murphy and the 'Shankill Butchers' as bad as anything which the Provisional IRA or INLA did. The book looks at individual incidents and tries to examine the terrorist mindset and their motives for the atrocities which they carried out in the name of their communities. It supports the security forces unequivocally but renders criticism where appropriate. The book examines the role of the young soldiers from Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, indeed from every part of the UK from which these young men came. It looks at foot patrols, riot control and the daily fear and threat under which they operated for their four month or two year tours. Read carefully the words of an Irish-American who clearly is contemptuous of the way her fellow Americans almost sleepwalked into supporting the IRA from afar with the dollars which they placed so willingly into the NORAID collection jars. The level of detail and research the author goes into is phenomenal and demonstrates his commitment to continue telling the story of one of Britain's forgotten wars.
- 2014 Ken M. Wharton
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