Rebel Hearts is a detailed and revealing portrait of the world of the IRA. For ten years Kevin Toolis investigated the lives of the men and women who fought the IRA's war against the British State. His journeys took him to back kitchens in West Belfast where men joked about making two-thousand-pound bombs, to prisons for interviews with those serving record life terms, and to graveyards where mourners weep. The result is moving and harrowing. Each chapter explores a world which history, faith and human savagery dominate lives and deaths. We see how a whole family was sucked into the conflict, killing its enemies and then being killed itself. We experience the chilling underside of the intelligence war between the British security forces and the IRA, and the bullet-in-the-head consequences for those IRA volunteers who turn and betray their former comrades. We live the transformation of an IRA volunteer whose attempt to ambush and murder goes horribly wrong, turning him into a hero and martyr for the cause. Rebel Hearts is a history, a map, and a guide to the psychological underworld of the IRA. It explains and uncovers the roots of the conflict in Northern Ireland through a series of compelling individual portraits of IRA men.
Kevin Toolis, a journalist and screenwriter, was born in Edinburgh of Irish parents. Rebel Hearts is his first book.