The Dead Beside Us | Book Review

The Dead Beside Us | Book Review

 A Memoir of Growing Up in Derry

Author: Tony Doherty |  Review: Kevin Magee

Tony Doherty’s follow up to This Man’s Wee Boy takes up immediately after his father’s murder on Bloody Sunday and the adaptation to life without him to a more turbulent time in Ireland. The contrast between the normal facts of life growing up anywhere alongside Lord Widgery’s tribunal, with the escalation of violence on the streets of Derry in the 1970s is treated with a great nostalgic humour, that you could only really get in Ireland.

Family holidays to Butlin’s and Buncrana: catching youth workers having sex, as well as being caught up in an explosion, the moving from one area to another, first kisses, The Shanty Hop and a riot, The Carnhill Disco and the Undertones are staples of a working-class Irish childhood, that give way to the reality of a war.

From joining the Fianna to the first arrest under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, to joining the I.R.A, Doherty’s book ebbs and flows easily from innocence to anger with the humour of youth that places the reader by his side too.

Again there is a “Derry Dictionary” at the back and a great soundtrack including Bowie, The Bay City Rollers, E.L.O., Mud and Shawaddywaddy. A must read and a reminder never to forget where you come from.


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