An Army of Tribes

British Army Cohesion, Deviancy and Murder in Northern Ireland

Edward Burke

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ISBN: 9781786941039

Publication: February 28, 2018

This is the first such study of Operation Banner, the British Army’s campaign in Northern Ireland. Drawing upon extensive interviews with former soldiers, primary archival sources including unpublished diaries and unit log-books, this book closely examines soldiers’ behaviour at the small infantry-unit level (Battalion downwards), including the leadership, and cohesion that sustained, restrained and occasionally misdirected soldiers during the most violent period of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It contends that there are aspects of wider scholarly literatures – including from sociology, anthropology, criminology, and psychology - that can throw new light on our understanding of the British Army in Northern Ireland. It also offers fresh insights and analysis of incidents involving the British Army during the early years of Operation Banner, including the 1972 ‘Pitchfork murders’ of Michael Naan and Andrew Murray in County Fermanagh, and that of Warrenpoint hotel owner Edmund Woolsey in South Armagh.

Edward Burke is Assistant Professor in International Relations at the University of Nottingham.


Based on rich and original research, this is a well-researched and sophisticated study on the British Army in Northern Ireland. Professor Richard English, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation and Engagement, Queen's University Belfast

An excellent, engaging and provocative study that addresses a crucial period during 'the Troubles' and examines patterns of behaviour within the British army as well as wider issues within Northern Ireland during this time. Dr David Murphy, Maynooth University

Format: Paperback

Size: 234 x 156 mm

352 Pages

ISBN: 9781786941039

Publication: February 28, 2018

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