Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams is credited with moving Irish Republicanism from the bullet to the ballot. Along the way he's been jailed, shot at, and even now he remains a controversial figure. Yet few doubt that he is both a fascinating and important figure. Adams now tells the story of "Ireland's long road to peace" (to use the book's subtitle) in his latest volume "A Farther Shore." The book chronicles the events that led up to the Good Friday Agreement. Adams' status as an insider certainly sheds new light on these historic, still-unfolding events. Adams writes about previously undisclosed discussions between the British government and key Republican figures. He also reveals how the IRA leadership clashed with other Republican elements, which ultimately played a role in the initial end of the IRA's ceasefire. The Clinton White House, the Catholic Church and prominent Irish-Americans are also featured, though perhaps more surprising is the extensive role the South African government played in the Irish peace process. Adams' U.S. publisher Random House makes "A Farther Shore" sound a bit like a corporate manual when they say this book of high-stakes global diplomacy "provides a template for conflict resolution." Nevertheless, those with an interest in contemporary Irish history will need to read this book, which traces the immediate roots of the peace process to the early 1980s. "Turning points can suddenly, unexpectedly occur," Adams writes in his introduction, referring to diverse leaders of liberation movements such as Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela. "In our own time and place, the hunger strikes of 1981 were to have that effect [in Ireland]." All in all, "A Father Shore" is an insightful, revealing read. ($25.95 / 412 pages / Random House)
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