The shocking story of the worst year of violence in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, which included Bloody Sunday, published to coincide with the 50th anniversary.
In the 11 months between August 1971 and July 1972, Northern Ireland experienced its worst year of violence. The 'year of chaos' came between two major military operations, namely the introduction of internment of IRA suspects, without trial, and Operation Motorman, the invasion of barricaded no-go areas in Belfast and Derry.
The internment raids created huge disaffection in the Catholic communities and provoked an escalation of violence. This led to the British government taking full control of Northern Ireland and negotiating directly with the IRA leadership. Operation Motorman, on a similar scale, then dampened down the violence a year later. No future year of the Troubles experienced such death and destruction.
During this whole period, Malachi O'Doherty was a cub reporter in Belfast, working in the city, covering the violence, returning home at night to a no-go area behind the barricades where the streets were patrolled by armed IRA men.
O'Doherty takes readers on a journey, at this time of crucial change, through the events of that terrible year, which he argues should be a reminder that political and military miscalculation can lead to civil war and that there is no more urgent need for creative political thinking than now, in the new instability created by demographic change, one hundred years after the partition of Ireland.
Malachi O'Doherty is a writer and broadcaster based in Belfast. He is a regular contributor to the Belfast Telegraph and to several BBC radio programmes. He covered the Troubles and the peace process as a journalist and has written for several Irish and British newspapers and magazines, including the Irish Times, the New Statesman, the Scotsman and the Guardian.
British & Irish history