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Killing Thatcher: The IRA, the Manhunt and the Long War on the Crown by Rory Carroll

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A Sunday Times History Book of the Year 2023

A Spectator Book of the Year 2023

The Irish Times No.1 Bestseller

'As taut as a fictional thriller' Mail on Sunday

'Gripping, detailed and richly layered' Guardian

KILLING THATCHER is the gripping account of how the IRA came astonishingly close to killing Margaret Thatcher and to wiping out the British Cabinet - an extraordinary assassination attempt linked to the Northern Ireland Troubles and the most daring conspiracy against the Crown since the Gunpowder Plot.

In this fascinating and compelling book, veteran journalist Rory Carroll retraces the road to the infamous Brighton bombing in 1984 - an incident that shaped the political landscape in the UK for decades to come. He begins with the infamous execution of Lord Mountbatten in 1979 - for which the IRA took full responsibility - before tracing the rise of Margaret Thatcher, her response to the 'Troubles' in Ireland and the chain of events that culminated in the hunger strikes of 1981 and the death of 10 republican prisoners, including Bobby Sands. From that moment on Thatcher became an enemy of the IRA - and the organisation swore revenge.

Opening with a brilliantly-paced prologue that introduces bomber Patrick Magee in the build up to the incident, Carroll sets out to deftly explore the intrigue before and after the assassination attempt - with the story spanning three continents, from pubs and palaces, safe houses and interrogation rooms, hotels and barracks. On one side, an elite IRA team aided by a renegade priest, US-raised funds and Libya's Qaddafi and on the other, intelligence officers, police detectives, informers and bomb disposal officers. An exciting narrative that blends true crime with political history, this is the first major book to investigate the Brighton attack.

About the Author

Rory Carroll, currently the Guardian's chief Ireland correspondent, was a 12-year-old living in Dublin at the time and remembers the scenes in the aftermath of the Brighton bombing. Rory has had a long and highly successful career as a foreign correspondent reporting from Belfast in the 1990s, London, Baghdad during and after the American invasion, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Los Angeles. In 2013 his first book, COMANDANTE: Hugo Chavez's Venezuela (Penguin Press and Canongate) was published. In 2018 he returned to Dublin and found himself spellbound by the memoirs, biographies, police reports, court records, testimonies and eyewitness accounts of a story which he had assumed was familiar but was anything but. KILLING THATCHER is born from that fascination.


'A gripping, detailed and richly layered account... [an excellent book]' - Guardian, Book of the Day

'Meticulous historical journalism... A compelling read' - The Sunday Times

'A book as taut as a fictional thriller, [a] gripping story... [an] excellent book' - Mail on Sunday, 5 stars

'A gripping modern history book' - The Independent

'A gripping book...brilliantly retold by Rory Carroll, whose depth of research is matched by his gift for vivid description' - Daily Express

'[A] fascinating book .... A tautly written account' - New Statesman

'[A] gripping tale' - The Economist

'A tense, blow-by-blow account' - The Scotsman

'Carroll turns the story into the most gripping thriller imaginable. He covers the political background of Northern Ireland's Troubles with brisk efficiency, but the real fascination lies in the countdown to the assassination attempt, the tension building with every page. As Carroll notes, things could have been very different, as "history pirouetted on a twist of geometry"' - Dominic Sandbrook, The Sunday Times

Book Information
ISBN 9780008476656
Author Rory Carroll
Format Hardback
Page Count 416
Imprint Mudlark
Publisher HarperCollins Publishers
Weight(grams) 630g
Dimensions(mm) 240mm * 159mm * 37mm


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