The Best Books About The Troubles In Ireland

“What are the best books about The Troubles?” We looked at 127 of the top Irish History books, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 16 titles, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Books About The Troubles” lists, are ranked below by how many lists they appear on. The remaining 100+ titles, as well as the lists we used are in alphabetical order at the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!

Top 16 Best Books About The Troubles

16 .) Bear in Mind These Dead written by Susan McKay

	Bear in Mind These Dead

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot
  • Goodreads

Nearly 4,000 people were killed over the thirty or so years of the Northern Irish Troubles. And the killings were as intimate as they were brutal. Neighbours murdered neighbours. Susan McKay’s book explores the difficult legacy of this conflict for families, friends and communities. By interviewing those who loved the missing and the dead, as well as some who narrowly survived, McKay gives a voice to those who are too often overlooked in the political histories. Old enemies are now in government together in Belfast, and the killing has all but stopped, but peace can only endure if the dead can finally be laid to rest. “Bear in Mind These Dead” is a moving and important contribution to that process.

15 .) Divorcing Jack written by Colin Bateman

	Divorcing Jack

Lists It Appears On:

  • Irish Times
  • The Culture trip

Divorcing Jack is a 1998 satirical black comedy. The plot is set around the Northern Irish reporter Dan Starkey who gets entangled into a web of political intrigue and Irish sectarian violence, at the same time as Northern Ireland is set to elect a new Prime Minister.

14 .) Eureka Street: A Novel of Ireland Like No Other written by Robert McLiam Wilson

	Eureka Street: A Novel of Ireland Like No Other

Lists It Appears On:

  • Irish Times
  • The Culture trip

In a city blasted by years of force and fury, but momentarily stilled by a cease-fire, two unlikely friends search for that most human of needs: love. But of course, a night of lust will do. Jake Jackson and Chuckie Lurgan–one Catholic, one Protestant–navigate their sectarian city and their nonsectarian friendship with wit and style. Chuckie, an unemployed dreamer, stumbles into bliss with a beautiful American who lives in Belfast. Jake, a repo man with the soul of a poet, can only manage a hilarious war of insults with a spitfire Republican whose Irish name, properly pronounced, sounds like someone choking. Brilliant, exuberant, and bitingly funny, Eureka Street introduces us to one of the finest young writers to emerge from Ireland in years.

13 .) Killing Rage written by Eamon Collins with Mick McGovern

	Killing Rage

Lists It Appears On:

  • Five Books
  • For Reading Addicts

Since the 1970s, people have been murdering their neighbors in Northern Ireland. This book is the true account of the small-town violence and terror which lies behind the headlines.

12 .) Lies of Silence written by Brian Moore

	Lies of Silence

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot
  • Irish Times

When Michael Dillon is ordered by the IRA to park his car in the carpark of a Belfast hotel, he is faced with a moral choice which leaves him absolutely nowhere to turn. He knows that he is planting a bomb that would kill and maim dozens of people. But he also knows that if he doesn’t, his wife will be killed.

11 .) No Bones written by Anna Burns

	No Bones

Lists It Appears On:

  • For Reading Addicts
  • Irish Times

The shattering and darkly funny debut novel from the author of Milkman, winner of the Man Booker Prize. This is a book about feelings, family, sex, and Ireland—but don’t tell Amelia that. She’s the one growing up in the mad family, in the mad society, who doesn’t want to know what’s going on. But things are going on: eight-year-olds collecting very peculiar treasure; babies who might be, or might not be, bombs; schoolgirls bringing guns into schoolyards; and, of course, lots of food and bad, bad sex. If Amelia is to live she needs to change. Can she, though, in a place where people don’t know how to look after themselves, and so wouldn’t know how to look after one another?

10 .) One by One in the Darkness written by Deirdre Madden

	One by One in the Darkness

Lists It Appears On:

  • Irish Times
  • The Culture trip

A story about three Northern Irish sisters. It has a double narrative, part of which describes their childhood and shows the impact of the political changes and the violence of the late-1960s upon the people of Ulster, as the wholeness and coherence of early childhood gradually break down.

9 .) Rebel Hearts: Journey Within the IRA’s Soul written by Kevin Toolis

	Rebel Hearts: Journey Within the IRA’s Soul

Lists It Appears On:

  • For Reading Addicts
  • The Guardian

For ten years Kevin Toolis investigated the lives of the IRA soldiers who wage a secret battle against the British State. His journeys took him from the back kitchens of Belfast, where men joked while making two-thousand-pound bombs, to prisons for interviews with men serving life sentences, and to the graveyards where mourners weep. Each chapter explores a world where history, faith, and human savagery determine life and death. At once moving and harrowing, Rebel Hearts is the most authoritative and insightful book ever written on the IRA.

8 .) Ripley Bogle written by Robert McLiam Wilson

	Ripley Bogle

Lists It Appears On:

  • For Reading Addicts
  • Irish Times

A Cambridge dropout turned penniless drifter, the unforgettable Ripley Bogle takes us through the underbelly of London and into the surreal world of a vagabond. But Bogle is not your average bum. With a razor-sharp intellect, prodigious powers of perception, and better-than-average appearance (“Most movie stars would give their false back teeth for the kind of lived-in look that I possess”), Bogle careens through the wild streets of homelessness and Irish identity, all the while regaling us with the tale of his ragged Belfast past–and the events that led up to his extraordinary existence. In a brilliant coupling of sardonic, self-deprecating wit and the lush lyricism of a poet, Robert McLiam Wilson brings us a fiercely modern character with an old soul. Imbued with a grace that is thoroughly at odds with his squalid world, Ripley Bogle gnaws at the fringes of society and skewers its fat heart. The result is a hilarious, unexpectedly touching novel that is destined to become a classic.

7 .) Shadows on Our Skin written by Jennifer Johnston

	Shadows on Our Skin

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • Irish Times

Derry in the 1970s: teenager Joe Logan is growing up in the teeth of the Troubles, having to cope with embittered parents, a brother who’s been away and come back with money and a gun in his pocket, harsh school teachers, and the constant awareness of the military presence in the background. Central to the story is the friendship that tentatively grows up between Joe and Kathleen, a young school-teacher who brings a fresh perspective to his familiar world.

6 .) The Faithful Tribe written by Ruth Dudley Edwards

	The Faithful Tribe

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot
  • The Guardian

The first, intimate portrait of the Orange Order. If there is any more controversial body of men (and, with the exception of Ruth Dudley Edwards, who has been admitted to an honorary position in her very own lodge, they are all men) in the British Isles, it is hard to think who they might be. To most outsiders, grown men parading in bowler hats, white gloves, coloured sashes or collarettes, rolled umbrellas and banners showing scenes from the Old Testament or from a war that ended three centuries ago, are anachronistic, silly and provocative; to their enemies they are triumphalist bigots; to most of their members, the lodges’ parades are a commemoration of the courage of their forefathers, a proud declaration of their belief in civil and religious freedom, a demonstration of their Britishness, a chance to catch up with old friends and a jolly day out. Ruth Dudley Edwards is an unlikely Joan of Arc for the Orangemen, but that she is; a trusted and liked sympathizer, a woman, a Catholic from southern Ireland; one who sees them as possibly rather bumptious and certainly their own worst enemy, endlessly outpaced by the nimble Republicans in terms of PR (which the Orangemen scorn to meddle with). She has written a fond but not uncritical, indeed rather exasperated, portrait of this tribe, with lashings of insider detail and revelation which no one else could hope to obtain.

5 .) The Price of My Soul written by Bernadette Devlin McAliskey

	The Price of My Soul

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads 2
  • Irish Times

Bernadette Devlin’s book tells two stories: The story of ‘the real flesh-and-blood Bernadette’ ‘If you eat up all the bread at teatime, there won’t be anything for breakfast…’ She tells the story of personal ‘bottom-level’ poverty, of her combined struggle to go to university and to look after her orphaned brothers and sisters…of how she became involved in Civil Rights, and what happened when her people chose her as their MP… The story of the rage behind the Ulster riots ‘You come to a factory, looking for a job, and they ask you which school you went to. If its name was “Saint Somebody”, they know you are a Catholic and you don’t get taken on…’ In vivid detail, she brings to life the situation which has focused world attention on the North of Ireland…the early marches, and then the shootings, the burnings, the barricades…how she went to America to help her people rebuild their homes…and how she feels today…

4 .) The Twelfth Day of July written by Joan Lingard

	The Twelfth Day of July

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot
  • Irish Times

The first chapter takes place in a Protestant street. Tommy and Sadie Jackson are already looking forward to the 12th day of July which is a Protestant celebration day. Meanwhile, Catholic Kevin McCoy is out causing trouble in the Protestant part of town. What will happen when Sadie and Kevin meet? Can they become friends when everyone else in Northern Ireland is so full of hatred against the other religion?

3 .) Cal written by Bernard Maclaverty


Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot
  • Goodreads 2
  • The Guardian

Set in the Northern Ireland of the 1980’s, Cal tells the story of a young Catholic man living in a Protestant area. For Cal, some choices are devastatingly simple: he can work in an abattoir that nauseates him or join the dole queue; he can brood on his past or plan a future with Marcella. Springing out of the fear and violence of Ulster, Cal is a haunting love story that unfolds in a land where tenderness and innocence can only flicker briefly in the dark.

2 .) Trinity written by Leon Uris


Lists It Appears On:

  • For Reading Addicts
  • Goodreads 2
  • The Guardian

Leon Uris’s beloved Irish classic, available in Avon mass market. From the acclaimed author who enthralled the world with Exodus, Battle Cry, QB VII, Topaz, and other beloved classics of twentieth-century fiction comes a sweeping and powerful epic adventure that captures the “terrible beauty” of Ireland during its long and bloody struggle for freedom. It is the electrifying story of an idealistic young Catholic rebel and the valiant and beautiful Protestant girl who defied her heritage to join his cause. It is a tale of love and danger, of triumph at an unthinkable cost—a magnificent portrait of a people divided by class, faith, and prejudice—an unforgettable saga of the fires that devastated a majestic land… and the unquenchable flames that burn in the human heart.

1 .) Lost Lives written by David McKittrick, Seamus Kelters, Brian Feeley and Chris Thornton

	Lost Lives

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot
  • Five Books
  • For Reading Addicts
  • Irish Times
  • The Guardian

This is the story of the Northern Ireland troubles told as never before. It is not concerned with the political bickering, but with the lives of those who have suffered and the deaths which have resulted from more than three decades of conflict. Over a seven-year period, the authors examined every death which was directly caused by the troubles. Their research involved interviewing witnesses, scouring published material, and drawing on a range of investigative sources to produce this study. They trace the origins of the conflict from the firing of the first shots, through the carnage of the 1970s and 1980s and up to the republican and loyalist ceasefires and beyond. All the casualties are remembered here—the RUC officer, the young soldier, the IRA volunteer, the loyalist paramilitary, the Catholic mother, the Protestant worker, and the new-born baby.

The 100+ Additional Best Books About The Irish Troubles (Fiction And Nonfiction)

# Books Authors Lists
17 1916: A Novel of the Irish Rebellion Morgan Llywelyn Goodreads 2
18 1916: The Easter Rising Tim Pat Coogan Goodreads 2
19 A Goat’s Song   Irish Times
20 A June of Ordinary Murders (Joe Swallow, #1) Conor Brady Goodreads 2
21 A Long Long Way Sebastian Barry Goodreads 2
22 A Memoir Terry de Valera Goodreads 2
23 A New Ireland: Politics, Peace, and Reconciliation John Hume Goodreads 2
24 A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man James Joyce Goodreads 2
25 A Star Called Henry Roddy Doyle Goodreads 2
26 A Stone of the Heart (Inspector Matt Minogue #1) John Brady Goodreads 2
27 A Wizard Abroad (Young Wizards, #4) Diane Duane Goodreads 2
28 Acts of Allegiance Peter Cunningham Goodreads 2
29 Another Time, Another Season Anna Dillon Goodreads 2
30 Armed Struggle Richard English Five Books
31 At Swim, Two Boys Jamie O’Neill Goodreads 2
32 Ballymurphy and the Irish War Ciaran de Baroid Goodreads
33 Bandit Country: The IRA and South Armagh Toby Harnden The Guardian
34 Beyond the Silence   Irish Times
35 Blanketmen: An Untold Story of the H-Block Hunger Strike Richard O’Rawe Goodreads
36 Blood-Dark Track Joseph O’Neill Five Books
37 Bloody Sunday: How Michael Collins’s Agents Assassinated Britain’s Secret Service in Dublin on November 21, 1920 James Joseph Gleeson Goodreads 2
38 Blue Trilogy   Irish Times
39 Bog Child Siobhan Dowd The Culture trip
40 Country   Irish Times
41 David Trimble: The Prince of Peace Frank Millar Goodreads 2
42 Derry, The Greening of Larry Mahon   Irish Times
43 Dublin Made Me C.S. Andrews Goodreads 2
44 Dubliners James Joyce Goodreads 2
45 Eamon de Valera: The Man Who Was Ireland Tim Pat Coogan Goodreads 2
46 Eyewitness Bloody Sunday Don Mullan Goodreads 2
47 Fallen Lia Mills Goodreads 2
48 Fat Lad Glenn Patterson Irish Times
49 Father’s House Bethany Dawson Irish Times
50 Hospital Station (Sector General, #1) James White Goodreads 2
51 House of Splendid Isolation Edna O’Brien Goodreads 2
52 Journeyman Tailor Gerry Seymour The Guardian
53 Juno and the Paycock Seán O’Casey Goodreads 2
54 Justice and Truth: The Guildford Four and Maguire Seven Patrick Victory Goodreads 2
55 Kaddish in Dublin (Inspector Matt Minogue #3) John Brady Goodreads 2
56 Making Peace George J. Mitchell Goodreads 2
57 Making Sense of the Troubles David McKittrick and David McVea Book Riot
58 Man of War, Man of Peace? The Unauthorised Biography of Gerry Adams David Sharrock & Mark Devenport The Guardian
59 McGarr and the Method of Descartes (Peter McGarr, #6) Bartholomew Gill Goodreads 2
60 McGarr and the P.M. of Belgrave Square (Peter McGarr, #5) Bartholomew Gill Goodreads 2
61 Michael Collins: Screenplay and Film Diary Neil Jordan Goodreads 2
62 Michael Collins: The Man Who Made Ireland Tim Pat Coogan Goodreads 2
63 Milkman   Irish Times
64 Milltown: A Belfast Novella Pol O. Muiri Goodreads
65 Northern Ireland: Can Sean and John Live in Peace? Carol Daugherty Rasnic Goodreads 2
66 Nothing Happens in Carmincross   Irish Times
67 O’brien Pocket History Of The Troubles Brian Feeney Goodreads
68 Paperboy Tony Macaulay Goodreads 2
69 Ratman’s Notebooks Stephen Gilbert Irish Times
70 Reading in the Dark   Irish Times
71 Rebels: The Irish Rising of 1916 Peter de Rosa Goodreads 2
72 Resurrection Man   Irish Times
73 Rosie’s Troubles (Rosie McGrath, #2) Ann Carroll Goodreads 2
74 Seasons Anna Dillon Goodreads 2
75 Seasons’ End Anna Dillon Goodreads 2
76 Seven Troop Andy McNab Goodreads 2
77 Shadow Box Antonia Logue Irish Times
78 She Came Of Decent People Olga Pyne Clarke Goodreads 2
79 Songs of Irish Rebellion Georges Denis Zimmermann Goodreads 2
80 Summer Sang In Me Paul Smith Goodreads 2
81 Ten Men Dead: The Story of the 1981 Hunger Strike David Beresford The Guardian
82 That’s That: A Memoir Colin Broderick Goodreads 2
83 The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened At Béal na mBláth? S.M. Sigerson Goodreads 2
84 The Beginning of the End Walter Ellis Five Books
85 The Big Fellow: Michael Collins and the Irish Revolution Frank O’Connor Goodreads 2
86 The Black and Tans Richard Bennett Goodreads 2
87 The Butterfly Cabinet Bernie McGill Irish Times
88 The Catastrophist   Irish Times
89 The Children of the Troubles   Irish Times
90 The Cold Cold Ground   Irish Times
91 The Crying Game Neil Jordan Goodreads 2
92 The Death of an Irish Lover (Peter McGarr, #14) Bartholomew Gill Goodreads 2
93 The Death of an Irish Politician (Peter McGarr, #1) Bartholomew Gill Goodreads 2
94 The Emperor of Ice-Cream Brian Moore The Culture trip
95 The End of the Hunt Thomas Flanagan Goodreads 2
96 The Fall Claire McGowan The Culture trip
97 The Fight for Peace: The Secret Story Behind the Irish Peace Process Eamonn Mallie and David McKittrick The Guardian
98 The Glass Shore Sinead Gleeson Book Riot
99 The Good Son   Irish Times
100 The Informer Liam O’Flaherty Goodreads 2
101 The International   Irish Times
102 The IRA Tim Pat Coogan Goodreads 2
103 The Last of the Duchess Caroline Blackwood Irish Times
104 The Last September Elizabeth Bowen Goodreads 2
105 The Maiden Dinosaur Janet McNeill Irish Times
106 The Making of Ireland: From Ancient Times to the Present James Lydon Goodreads 2
107 The Rebels of Ireland (The Dublin Saga, #2) Edward Rutherfurd Goodreads 2
108 The Scorching Wind Walter Macken Goodreads 2
109 The Second Prison   Irish Times
110 The Story of the Irish Race: A Popular History of Ireland Seumas MacManus Goodreads 2
111 The Tenants of Time (The Thomas Flanagan Trilogy #2) Thomas Flanagan Goodreads 2
112 The Truth Commissioner   Irish Times
113 The Ultras   Irish Times
114 The War of Independence in Limerick Thomas Toomey Goodreads 2
115 The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty Sebastian Barry Goodreads 2
116 The Winship Family: Father and Son (The Winship Family Trilogy #1) Michael J. McCarthy Goodreads 2
117 The Winship Family: Independence (The Winship Family Trilogy #3) Michael J. McCarthy Goodreads 2
118 The Winship Family: The Children (The Winship Family Trilogy #2) Michael J. McCarthy Goodreads 2
119 The Year of the French Thomas Flanagan Goodreads 2
120 The Yellow House Patricia Falvey Goodreads 2
121 This Man’s Wee Boy   Irish Times
122 Troubles J.G. Farrell Goodreads 2
123 Two Plays: Juno and the Paycock, The Shadow of A Gunman Seán O’Casey Goodreads 2
124 Voices From The Grave Ed Moloney Goodreads
125 War and an Irish Town   Irish Times
126 Watchman Ian Rankin Goodreads 2
127 We Always Treat Women Too Well Raymond Queneau Goodreads 2

9 Best Ireland Troubles Book Sources/Lists

Source Article
Book Riot The Troubles: Books about Ireland, Northern Ireland and the United
Five Books The best books on The Troubles – a Five Books
For Reading Addicts 6 Books that Offer Insight into The Troubles
Goodreads Popular The Northern Irish Troubles Books
Goodreads 2 The Troubles–Irish Revolution in Fact and Fiction
Irish Times Ten great Northern Irish novels you might have missed
Irish Times Giving voice to the Troubles: How literature has told the North’s story
The Culture trip The Top Recommended Books Featuring Northern Ireland
The Guardian Peter Taylor’s top 10 books on the Troubles

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