Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Those Are Real Bullets

Bloody Sunday, Derry, 1972

by Peter Pringle

Those Are Real Bullets is a sad but instructive tale about the way in which centuries of inertia, as well as a modern failure of political imagination, was responsible for this tragedy. . . . A powerful indictment of the dead hand of history that lies so heavily on Northern Ireland.” –Anthony Day, Los Angeles Times

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 320
  • Publication Date March 18, 2002
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-3879-8
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $16.00

About The Book

At dusk on January 30, 1972, Barney McGuigan lay on the pavement in a pool of his own blood and brains, his head blown open by a paratrooper’s bullet. Peggy Deery was near death in the hospital, the back of her leg torn away. Frantic relatives searched the morgue for their loved ones.

On that day, known ever since as Bloody Sunday, British paratroopers opened fire on unarmed Irish Catholic demonstrators in Derry, killing thirteen and wounding another fourteen. Five were shot in the back. A crucial turning point in the recent history of Northern Ireland, the killings galvanized Catholics in their struggle against the British presence in Ulster. A formal inquiry immediately after Bloody Sunday exonerated the British soldiers, despite hundreds of eyewitness accounts that none of the victims were armed, and left many questions unanswered. Now, for the first time, here is the definitive account of what actually happened on that day.

In Those Are Real Bullets, veteran journalists Peter Pringle and Philip Jacobson reconstruct the escalation of the Northern Irish conflict from nonviolent demonstrations to rubber bullets and tear gas to live, high-velocity rounds. They introduce each of the victims, men like McGuigan, who was not an IRA gunman, or even a young stone-throwing rioter. Forty-one years old and the father of six, McGuigan was killed when he went to the aid of Paddy Doherty, a young man who had been shot from behind while crawling on the sidewalk to avoid the gunfire. The authors also take us behind the lines of the British paratroopers, showing how the army’s steady escalation of brutality in Northern Ireland led inevitably to the violence in Derry.

Offering a gripping and harrowing narrative, Those Are Real Bullets provides an intimate portrait of a city in revolt and powerful insight into the full human impact of the tragedy. It also places the day in the larger historical context of the Troubles and is essential to understanding how the failed military response plunged Northern Ireland into three decades of conflict.

Praise

Those Are Real Bullets is a sad but instructive tale about the way in which centuries of inertia, as well as a modern failure of political imagination, was responsible for this tragedy. . . . A powerful indictment of the dead hand of history that lies so heavily on Northern Ireland.”—Anthony Day, Los Angeles Times

“[A] carefully reported and scrupulous investigation, written like a good novel.”—Terry Golway, Newark Star-Ledger

“A comprehensive and detailed look at Bloody Sunday and how it fits within its historical account. . . . [A] remarkable account.”—Bernadette Murphy, Newsday

‘disturbing, raw and compassionate, Pringle and Jacobson’s account is mesmerizing.”—Publishers Weekly

“A lucid and often bitter chronicle of yet another day that lives in infamy.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Gripping and terrible.”—Library Journal

“Peter Pringle and Philip Jacobson, two reporters of skill and firsthand knowledge, have untangled the conflicts of evidence with impressive objectivity, and at the same time given us an absorbing narrative of traged

y.”—Harold Evans, author of The American Century

“A shocking, stomach-turning, enraging narrative history that should be required reading . . . It will etch a grimace of revulsion on your face that will deepen with every page you turn. Herein lies all the chaos, the viciousness and the human tragedy of Bloody Sunday. Prepare to feel very, very angry.”—Justine McCarthy, Irish Independent

“Written by two veteran, first-rate reporters, this book will remain the standard account of that miserable day.”—Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Daily Mail

“A fast-paced and harrowing account . . . The Pringle/Jacobson analysis of this horrifyingly memorable event is presented in a wealth of detail and finely tuned recollections.”—Cal McCrystal, The Herald (Glasgow)