The first is by ‘revisionist’ historian, Roy Foster, who raises one interesting point; the shock Sinn Fein encountered:
“…when they welcomed the Clinton administration on board the peace process, only to hear Nancy Soderberg declare, ‘I don’t really care whether there is a united Ireland or not; all I care about is that there not be violence and that the North gets developed politically and economically.’ This is really a book about Gerry Adams’ adoption of the Soderberg approach.”
It may be some reflection of the recent breakdown in the discourse between classic Republicans and their revisionist critics that this is the only piece of new insight in Foster’s review.
Yet again I turn to Paul Dunne. He pinpoints the change in the IRA’s fortunes of war:
“Moloney is surely right in making the failure of what he calls the IRA’s planned “Tet Offensive” in 1987 very significant. This plan, that should have been the culmination of the “long war”, had been made possible by the promise of a number of arms shipments from Libya. There would then have been a reversion to the tactics of the flying columns all across South and West of the six counties. However, the last and largest of the shipments was discovered — Moloney thinks betrayed by an informer. The damage this did was not so much the loss of the arms on the Eksund as the loss of the element of surprise.”