This has to be most intelligent and reflective review of Ed Moloney’s A Secret History of the IRA. In fact, it is more of a critical essay on the Northern Command and its natural antithesis to classic Republicanism.
He starts on Adams, who has taken star billing in previous reviews (also here and here):
“The shadow of Gerry Adams falls across almost every page. Moloney recounts his IRA career: joined as an 18-year-old volunteer in D Company on the Falls Road in 1966; went with the Provisionals in 1970 when the movement split under the impact of the assault on Belfast’s Catholics; commander in the West Belfast housing estate of Ballymurphy in 1971 and then member of the Belfast Brigade staff; second in command and then Belfast commander in 1972; interned in 1973; released in 1977 and joined the ruling Army Council; briefly chief of staff in 1977; Northern commander in 1979; and so on and on. Adams remains a member of the Army Council today.”
It was first published in The Nation.