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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > Feb-18 > Books in brief

Books in brief

Wounds: A Memoir of War and Love

by Fergal Keane (William Collins, £18.99)

In his new book, Wounds, the veteran BBC correspondent Fergal Keane turns his attention from foreign wars to one closer to home: his family’s participation in the 1919-21 war against the British which led to the establishment of the Irish Free State, and the civil war that followed. The conflicts pitted neighbours against each other. The fighting was nasty: ambushes, arson, assassinations; revenge and reprisal stalked country lanes and town squares in “an accumulating local viciousness.”The brutality of the Black and Tans was matched by IRA Republicans who turned on their former comrades-in-arms after the treaty with the British. Years of strife led to a breakdown in law and order. Keane notes sadly, “it is the same in every… civil conflict I have ever reported.”

Keane’s family comes from County Kerry and he weaves his story around the assassination of a Royal Irish Constabulary officer who was gunned down by the IRA yards from his own front door. At the time, Keane’s grandmother, Hannah Purtill, was carrying messages and guns for the IRA and her brother, Mick, was a comrade-in-arms of the police officer’s killers. Both died without talking much about their war. “The past freezes over,”writes Keane.

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s February 2018 issue: John Naughton, James Ball, Yuan Ren, Hannah Jane Parkinson and Houman Barekat outline the ways in which our lives are controlled by big tech giants. Naughton argues that Facebook and Google have created a new “surveillance capitalism” in which they battle to grow user engagement of their products and monetise our lives for their own gain as they do so. The cover package also explores how “bots,” fake social media accounts, influenced the US presidential vote and the Brexit referendum as well as the effects of removing net neutrality in the US. Elsewhere in the issue: Samira Shackle asks what happens to ordinary civilians affected by Islamic State as they attempt to move back to their homes and rebuild their lives; Shahidha Bari asks whether we can continue to appreciate the work of actors, filmmakers and writers who have been disgraced; and Christine Ockrent profiles Michel Barnier.