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Gerry Adams: An Unauthorised Life

Malachi O’Doherty

A compelling appraisal of one of the most controversial figures in Irish politics that draws on exclusive new interviews and intelligence.

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‘Loathed, loved, terrorist to some, brilliant political strategist to others – what do we make of Gerry Adams? Malachi O’Doherty, one of Northern Ireland’s most fearless journalists and writers, has gone further than anyone else to disentangle it all in this impressively measured and stylishly written biography – an illuminating read.’ – Professor Marianne Elliott

How did Gerry Adams grow from a revolutionary street activist – in perpetual danger of arrest and assassination – into the leader of Sinn Féin, with intimate access to the British and Irish Prime Ministers and the US President? And how has he outlasted them all?

Drawing on newly available intelligence and scores of exclusive interviews, Malachi O’Doherty’s meticulously researched biography sheds light on the history of this extraordinary shape-shifter. O’Doherty grew up on a 1950s Belfast housing estate, behind IRA barricades in his teens, and witnessed the start of the Troubles first hand; he is uniquely placed to expose the real man behind the myths in this compelling study.

O’Doherty’s experience as a journalist – at the BBC, on Belfast’s newspapers, as correspondent for the Scotsman during the peace process, and as a commentator on Northern Irish affairs for the New Statesman – informs this authoritative account of one of the world’s most controversial politicians.

Critic Reviews

Very important . . . careful, detailed, judicious. It does a great job of focussing on Adams while doing full justice to the wider political context. It's properly skeptical but never cynical. It's much the best thing to be written about Adams.

Fintan O'Toole
Critic Reviews

Malachi O'Doherty provides unique psychological insight into the mystery that is Gerry Adams. O'Doherty takes us on a Conradian journey into a heart of darkness. Adams will hate this book, which is why this important, penetrating, honest work must be read.

Henry McDonald, Ireland Correspondent, Guardian
Critic Reviews

Malachi O’Doherty is a highly talented writer and commentator. In this book he provides fascinating insights into the life and times of one of The Troubles’ most iconic figures. He offers unique perspectives on the growth of the Provisional IRA and its ideological struggles. The narrative also opens a window into the internecine violence between both wings of the IRA and addresses the controversies surrounding the Hunger Strike.

Martin Dillon, author of The Dirty War
Critic Reviews

I've lived here now pretty much all my adult life and have been waiting for a book like this for a very very long time.… Everyone in Northern Ireland knows that there are certain things that cannot be said. Malachi O'Doherty says them.

Ian Sansom
Malachi O'Doherty

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. This…

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Malachi O'Doherty