The Minister of Education?
A few months ago I read Liam Clarke and Kathyrn Johnson's unauthorized biography of Martin McGuinness, From Guns to Government
. After reviewing it again, I now want to take the time to comment on this book a little bit further.
I have heard some mumblings that a lot of the information collected in this volume is either hearsay or misconstrued. At face value, I took a lot of the writing with a grain of salt. I understand why McGuinness did not cooperate with The Times
. The paper Clarke represents has repeatedly misrepresented and misinterpreted the Republican position since the beginning of the Troubles. This is a right wing paper who's view of the IRA has always been that they are out and out terrorists.
An acquaintance of McGuinness' in Derry, Denis Bradley, is someone I regard as trustworthy and very sincere. He has written a couple of good articles for the Irish News on the transition from the bullet to the ballot box. Bradley did a review of the book in question and effectively tore it to pieces.
Bradley questioned many of the people cited as sources or probable sources throughout the book and a vast majority of them denied having ever been interviewed. The point is that Clarke may have either found this information from other uncited sources or just plain made it up.
Most of the sources who were verified have a probable axe to grind with the former Education minister.
It is suggested that McGuinness' role in the peace process was just a cop-out on his part to keep himself out of jail. One of the Army Council's well-known hawks, McGuinness, according to Clarke, was forced to act as chief negotiator for Sinn Fein in dealings with the British government.
Clarke simultaneously portrays McGuinness as a cowardly, self-absorbed, ruthless and callous man while still showing him to be dedicated, unwavering, intellectual and a strategical genius. The author even dares to hint that McGuinness had "guardian angels" within the ranks of Mi5 and Mi6.
Many of Clarke's suggestions about McGuinness' good luck at avoiding capture are left open-ended. The reader must decide what is being hinted at in these claims.
Here we have a man who openly told a Dublin courtroom that he was "a member of Oglaigh na hEireann and very, very proud of it." He has often been described as the "ideal" Provo. The so called "Godfather of godfathers" of the Provisional mov't. And here is a man in Clarke who is claiming that all along he has been protected and supported by British intelligence.
This book has no substance except for amusement purposes only.