“This is the best account of the life of an IRA volunteer yet written.” – The Irish Times
“No better explanation of why ordinary people turn to terrorism has ever been written. O’Doherty’s compelling story is a brilliant, firsthand account of how the boy next door became a bomber…. O’Doherty traces his early involvement with the IRA with disarming honesty and humour…. Most riveting, however, is the story of his disillusion with the romance of republicanism and his complete denunciation of violence. … The Volunteer is an excellent study of the civilian turned terrorist turned civilian.” – The Catholic Herald
“O’Doherty gives a graphic account of the making of an IRA man. Perhaps the book’s greatest strength, and no doubt the feature that, as O’Doherty predicts, will irritate, is the emotional tone in which the story is told. He tells it how he saw and felt it at the time. When he is a stubborn, impetuous youth, he recounts as a stubborn, impetuous youth. When he is a blinkered perpetrator of callous violence, he recounts as a blinkered perpetrator of callous violence. When he becomes an older-but-wiser committed pacifist, the tone shifts yet again to reflect that incarnation.” – The Independent (London)
About the Author
Shane O’Doherty joined the IRA at 15 years of age and was later arrested. He was one of the first prisoners to work his way past the negativity of the philosophy of armed struggle, beginning to recommend publicly and privately an end to violence and a full engagement with the democratic process. From his prison cell, O’Doherty courageously wrote letters of apology to his victims. He was released after serving 14 years and read for a degree in English at Trinity College, Dublin.