Reviews

 ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​“The book’s uniqueness lies in the fact that it is written by an insider, a person who has worked for many years at the coalface and observed at first hand the professionalism of his colleagues in responding to the many and varied challenges ranging from life threatening situations through to the unceasing demand for more and better intelligence.”

    Raymond White, retired Assistant Chief Constable OBE. BEM. LLB. (Hons)    

"It was a legitimate criticism of an older style of intellectual history that it confused philosophy and practice, assuming, for example, that the French Revolution came fully formed from the mind of Jean Jacques Rousseau. The political agreement in Northern Ireland risks succumbing to that sort of interpretation, as if it emerged fully formed from the minds of paramilitary leaders and human rights activists. William Matchett’s excellent book is a necessary corrective to that partial and often self-serving understanding.  If there is a debt contracted by history, it is a debt owed to the patient, methodical, unseen, dangerous and thankless task of intelligence gathering performed by the RUC’s Special Branch. Matchett shows how its intelligence operations so confined the capacity for terrorism that it made possible the conditions for political agreement. This is often mentioned in passing by those writing on Northern Ireland. Matchett tells us how it was achieved. In doing so, he has produced a book of major significance."

Arthur Aughey, Emeritus Professor at the University of Ulster

“A superbly researched, highly readable, and very thoughtful examination of the strategy that defeated the IRA – and of the implications of that model for contemporary challenges."

General David Petraeus, US Army (Ret.), Commander of coalition forces during the “surges” in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Director of the CIA