Big Boys' Rules: The SAS and the Secret Struggle Against the IRA

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Faber & Faber, Dec 20, 2012 - History - 288 pages

The SAS describes its attitude to the use of lethal force as 'Big boys' games, big boys' rules'. Anyone caught with a gun or bomb can expect to be shot. In Big Boys' Rules: The SAS and the Secret Struggle Against the IRA Mark Urban meticulously explores the security forces' covert operations in Northern Ireland: from the mid-1970s, when they were stepped up, to the Loughall ambush in 1987, in which eight IRA Provisionals were killed. While charting the successes and failures of special operations during the troubles, Urban reveals the unenviable dilemmas faced by intelligence chiefs engaged in a daily struggle against one of the world's most sophisticated terrorist organisations.

'This is a book that needed to be written and which fulfils the essentials of any Ulster story; it expands understanding beyond fragmented jingoism and newspaper headlines.' John Stalker, Sunday Times

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User Review  - nandadevi - LibraryThing

Urban brings a journalists eye to the story of special forces activities in Northern Ireland during the 1970's and 80's, and concludes that their deployment resulted in systemic abuses, mostly ... Read full review

About the author (2012)

Mark Urban is the Diplomatic Editor of the BBC's Newsnight and was formerly Defence Correspondent for the Independent. He is the author of several books, including Big Boys' Rules: The SAS and the Secret Struggle Against the IRA, The Men Who Broke Napoleon's Codes and Rifles: Six Years with Wellington's Legendary Sharpshooters. His Generals: Ten British Commanders Who Shaped the World was described by Tim Collins as 'entertaining, informative and insightful', and by Allan Mallinson as 'one of the most intelligent books on the British Army I have ever read'. Fusiliers: How the British Army Lost America But Learned to Fight was described by Simon Sebag Montefiore as 'a vivid, gritty, poignant and well-researched charge-by-charge, barrage-by-barrage march of one regiment of Redcoats through the battles of the American War of Independence.'

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