Sunday, September 30, 2012

Book Review: The IRA on Film and Television by Mark Connelly

A fascinating look into the history of the Irish Republican Army and how it has been portrayed on film and television awaits you in The IRA on Film and Television by Mark Connelly.

With the IRA appearing in more than eighty motion pictures, it has a unique cinematic presence. Dedicated to unifying its homeland and ending British rule in Northern Ireland, this secret organization has led to the creation of films in a variety of genres starring well-known actors such as Liam Neeson, Robert Mitchum, Brad Pitt, Mickey Rourke, James Cagney, and Anthony Hopkins. Connelly, a multi-published author and teacher of literature and film, shares his wealth of knowledge with an academic style that propels the reader to want to know more.

The IRA on Film and Television is an excellent resource for students, as much as an engaging look into the portrayal of the IRA on film and television for the casual reader. Whether portrayed as a justified political hero-warrior, an evil psychopath, or a lost, lonely wanderer, this medium has given a face to members of the IRA and their struggles. The book delves into how different countries portray the IRA in films. It explores classics such as John Ford's The Informer and Carol Reed's Odd Man Out, but also more recent films such as The Devil's Own and television shows such as HBO's Boardwalk Empire. 

What I found most fascinating about the book is its discussion on the history of the IRA. For someone like me with limited knowledge of the organization or the conflict, The IRA on Film and Television provided a wealth of information, in addition to giving me a reason to rethink some of the films I thought I knew so well. There are instances where the organization is not named or the focus truly isn't on the struggle as much as it is on an individual's story, so the connection might not have been clear before.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book for me was a small portion found on pages 167 and 168, titled "The 9/11 Effect." This looks at the unintended but profound consequences that the attacks on the World Trade Center had for the IRA. The final pages of the book provide a chronology of historical events, filmography, and list of television shows.

I would highly recommend The IRA on Film and Television to anyone looking to know more about the IRA and its history, in addition to those interested in the making of films about this secret organization. The author's website, found at, has information that can help you learn more about the book and decide if it's right for you.


Pump Up Your Book and Mark Connelly are teaming up to give you a chance to win a Kindle Fire HD!

Paperback: 273 pages
Publisher: McFarland (April 25, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0786447362
ISBN-13: 978-0786447367
Paperback: $55
Kindle version: $20.99

I received a free copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions for which I have not been compensated in any way.

This is the 47th book I've read for the following challenge:

1 comment:

DarcyO said...

This does sound interesting. Thanks!