The Popular Campaign against Criminalization and the Irish Hunger Strikes 1976-1982
F. Stuart Ross
F. Stuart Ross is a Derry-based activist and academic. He received his PhD from Queen's University Belfast and has also studied at Syracuse University and the London School of Economics.
Introduction: Everyone Has a Part to Play 1. Prison Protests and Broad Fronts (1972 - 1975) 2. Lean Days and Uphill Battles (1976-1977) 3. Steps in the Right Direction (1978-1979) 4. Building the Campaign (1980) 5. Hunger Strike (October 1980 - December 1980) 6. Bobby Sands MP (January 1981 - April 1981) 7. Ten Men Dead (May ’81 - October ‘81) 8. A Quiet and Uneventful End (October ‘81 - October ‘82) 9. Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things (Conclusion) Bibliography Endnotes
Ross's book takes a different tack by examining the nature and wider significance of the mobilisation of grassroots support for republican prisoners during this period....He challenges key themes of the Provisional I.R.A.'s established narrative of the 1980-81 Hunger Strikes.
Kevin Bean Irish Historical Studies
The most comprehensive academic work on the subject so far.
Maggie Scull The Irish Times
This gives a very different view of the campaign around the prison protests, one that few of us know and one that is sorely needed. It also points out that violence actually undercuts mass movements and is counter-productive to political progress. One other point the book makes, although it may be unintentional, is that it clearly illustrates the evolution of Sinn Fein in to the Party it is today and how it managed to overwhelm and absorb people and parties in to their particular version of politics. A MUST read.
Anthony S. Novosel
Ross shows the complexity of alliances that composed the anti-H-Block campaign. Far from being a hunger strike inside the prison supported by Sinn Féin outside the prison, a conglomerate of forces made up the movement.
A necessary and long-overdue new look at a vital phase in our recent history.
This is an important book for the light it throws on the politics of the period and, in particular, in restoring the plain people to their proper place in the narrative….What the account makes clear is that the movement against the H-Blocks wasn’t whistled up by republican leaders but was—like many other significant developments, including the peace process—a bottom-up affair.…F. Stuart Ross’s book is essential for an understanding of what really happened in the hunger strike.
Eamonn McCann Belfast Telegraph
The path from being on the political fringe of the political scene in Northern Ireland to its present position as the dominant voice of northern nationalism could not have been achieved without the events from 1976-1981. Ross has shed valuable new light on how this was achieved. For those attempting to understand Northern Ireland's past and present, Smashing H-Block will prove to be a important contribution.
Brendan Lynn Irish Literary Supplement
...this book is a must. It’s a great read about a sad and tragic period. Stuart Ross is to be applauded for this worthy contribution to republican prison history.
Bobby Sands Trust
A most interesting book based on solid and detailed historical research, yet immensely readable, written in a fluid, jargon-free and no-nonsense style.
University of Ulster
Superbly written, this is the definitive, authoritative work on the protests beyond Maze/Long Kesh prison which accompanied the republican hunger strikes. One of the most absorbing academic works I have read for years. A riveting read.
President, Political Studies Association, University of Liverpool
Size: 210 x 147 mm
Publication: August 31, 2011