Saturday, November 22, 2014

Border Campaign Reading List

This is, so far as I have been able to ascertain, a reading list of all the best published sources on Operation Harvest.

(Note: There are several books on the Cumann na mBan, if anyone could recommend the one with the best info on this period I'd be grateful- Miceal)

----General History----

The IRA by Tim Pat Coogan

The Secret Army by J Bowyer Bell

(These two have very extensive sections on Operation Harvest and are in many ways the primary sources of information on it.)

Resistance by Sean Cronin
(A manifesto and history written during the campaign by the man who started it.)

Irish nationalism: a history of its roots and ideology by Sean Cronin
(Section covering the campaign.)

The Lost Revolution by Brian Hanley and Scott Millar
(The first chapters chronicle the 50's, mostly through the eyes of future Official Republicans, and the reorganization afterwards. Rivals the Bell and Coogan books for detail.)

Soldiers of Folly by Barry Flynn
(The only stand-alone general history of Operation Harvest.)

Milestones in Murder by Hugh Jordan
(Contains two chapters on the campaign focused mostly on incidents that ended in death- Rosslea, Brookeborough, etc.)

The Orange State by Michael Farrell
(Classic political history of the period.)

Na Fianna Eireann: A Case Study of a Political Youth Organisation by John Watts
( Contains a description of their activities during 50-62 period)

   The IRA, 1956 - 69: Rethinking the Republic By Matt Treacy
(Analysis focusing on the political and socio-economic forces at work within the Republican movement and the "new direction" of the 60's. "Official Irish Republicanism" by Sean Swan likewise, while not focused on the campaign, has analysis of it by former participants and other interesting bits.)

The IRA: A Documentary History by Brian Hanley

  The above stand out for their original research. There are several more that could be listed under "general history" but they usually use other books- Coogan, Bell and Farrell in particular -as their sources or else have little by way of information not contained in the above list.

----Prison Narratives----

Prisoner 1082 by Donal Donnelly
(First hand account of the only successful escape from "the Crum.")

The Insider: Belfast Prison Diaries of Eamonn Boyce
(Day by day diary written in secret, with comprehensive notes by Anna Bryson.)

The Omagh Prisoner: Writings of Philip Clarke
(Published by Joe Christle on the Omagh raider and SF candidate for 1955.)

A Rebel Spirit: the Life and Times of Seamus O'Lionochainn by Seamus O'Lionochainn
(Autobiography of a Cork volunteer; covers the IRA in Cork and his years in "the Crum.")

IRA Internments and the Irish Government: by John Maguire
(Contains detailed history of the 56-62 period focused on the 26 counties, with many photos.)

Internment by John McGuffin
(Chapters on internment in the north and south.)

 Cypriot and Irish Political Prisoners held in British prisons 1956-1959 by Grigoras Limavadas
(Little known story of Cypriot-Irish solidarity and cooperation. Includes details of the 1959 escape from Wakefield.)

Lawless vs Ireland: the First Case Before the European Court of Human Rights by Brian Dolan
(Overview of Gerry Lawless's legal conflict with the Free State.)

Irish Political Prisoners 1920-1962: Pilgrimage of Desolation


From Vinegar Hill to Edentubber: The Story of the Wexford IRA and the Border Campaign by Ruan O'Donnell
(Well-detailed account of the Wexford Brigade circa 1948-62.; many photos and an appendix of songs from the 50's.)

 Maraóidh Seán Sabhat Aréir by Mainchín Seoighe
(Irish language book on Sean South)

"They Kept Faith" by Sean Cronin
(On South and O'Hanlon)

Sean South of Garryowen by Des Fogerty

Miscellaneous Notes on Republicanism and Socialism in Cork by Jim Lane
(History of the Cork brigade, independent activities by Cork volunteers, and the breakaway IRF.)

The Blood Dark Track by Joseph O'Neill
(Large section on Jim and Brendan O'Neill's activities with Jim Lane's group, and Joseph's retracing their footsteps today.)

   Ruairi O'Bradaigh: Life and Politics of an Irish Revolutionary by Robert White
(His detailed recollections of the campaign- joining, Arborfield raid, Derrylin Barracks attack, the Curragh, goings on inside the IRA etc.)

Joe Cahill, A Life in the IRA by Brendan Anderson and Joe Cahill
(Insightful chapter detailing the era in Belfast; the arms raids there, searching for the informer, and other things not covered elsewhere.)

Memiors of a Revolutionary by Sean MacStoifain- Also published as "Revolutionary in Ireland"
(Chapter on the Felstead Raid and his subsequent years in English prisons.)

Tyrone's Struggle for Irish Freedom by Gerard Magee

In Pursuit of Peace in Ireland by Liam O'Comain
(A short section on his joining the Derry IRA in the 50's and political activities like canvassing for Manus Canning.)

God and the Gun by Martin Dillon
(Des O'Hagan talks extensively about being in the Belfast IRA in the late 40's and 50's.)

The Irregulars by "The Hungry Brigade Collective."
(Online book about several Dublin volunteers who got started during Operation Harvest and later went into Saor Eire. Written in a novelized form but the facts behind the events are solid.)

Provisional Irish Republicans: An Oral and Interpretive History
(Has interviews with several members - mostly anonymous- who discuss becoming involved in the 50's.)

The IRA in the Twilight Years
(Focused on the 30's-40's period, but in its profiles/bios of volunteers it tells of those who went on to fight in the 50's)

The American Connection by Jack Holland
(Coverage of George Harrison's and Paddy McLogan's smuggling of weapons in the latter half of the 50's and early 60's)

About Time: Surviving Ireland's Death Row by Peter Pringle
(Later framed for murder and found innocent, Peter Pringle recalls in his autobiography about joining the Dublin brigade in the early 50's, time spent in prison for refusing to become an informer, and time spent as O/c before campaign's end.)


A pamphlet on James Crossan was published by Sinn Fein in 1958.

A booklet was put out for the 45th anniversary of the death of Alo Hand.

The Pearse Column & the Brookeborough Raid
Awakening the Spirit of Freedom - Edited by Des Long
(Both published for the 50th anniversary of the death of Sean South and Fergal O'Hanlon)

Patrick McManus, James Crossan and the Border Campaign - Edited by Ruan O'Donnell.
(Published for their 50th anniversaries.)

"Songs of the North"
(Booklet put out by Saor Uladh/Fianna Uladh, contains a life of Connie Green and songs in his honor.)

----For further reading----

 The ongoing section of RSF's monthly "Saoirse" entitled "50 Years Ago Today" has some excellent information, particularly issues from 1999-2012.

An Phoblacht ran several series and interviews with veterans from 2006-2009 or so. They also have obituaries of veterans who died in the past couple of decades.

There's also some nutter with a blog called laochrauladh.....

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mick - I posted up an account of what is known about Laochra Uladh including a rough list of operations that were probably carried out by Laochra Uladh.