Before the Dawn

Before the Dawn

An Autobiography

Gerry Adams offers his own unique, intimate account of the early years of his career, from his childhood in working-class Belfast to the more turbulent years of social activism that followed. Updated with new introduction and epilogue covering the huge changes in Irish society since the Good Friday Agreement.

Paperback: €14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Size:196x130 mm
ISBN: 9781847179166

E-Book (ePub): €5.99
Also available as an E-Book (ePub)
ISBN: 9781847178213

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Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams offers a unique, intimate account of his childhood in working-class Belfast and the turbulent years of social activism that followed. First published in 1996 – at a time when politics in the North was at an impasse, and the Good Friday Agreement was still many intense months away – Before the Dawn tells of the pogroms of 1969 and the hunger strikes of 1981, moving from the streets of West Belfast to the cages and the H-Blocks of Long Kesh. An engaging and revealing self-portrait that is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand modern Ireland. Updated with a new introduction and epilogue.

Gerry Adams

President of Sinn Féin and TD for Louth, Gerry Adams has been a published writer since 1982. His books have won critical acclaim in many quarters and have been widely translated. His writings range from local history and reminiscence to politics and short stories, and they include the fullest and most authoritative exposition of modern Irish republicanism.

Born in West Belfast in 1948 into a family with close ties to both the trade union and republican movements, Gerry Adams is the eldest of ten children. His mother was an articulate and gentle woman, his father a republican activist who had been jailed at the age of sixteen, and he was partly reared by his grandmother, who nurtured in him a love of reading.

His childhood, despite its material poverty, he has described in glowing and humorous terms, recollecting golden hours spent playing on the slopes of the mountain behind his home and celebrating the intimate sense of community in the tightly packed streets of working-class West Belfast. But even before leaving school to work as a barman, he had become aware of the inequities and inequalities of life in the north of Ireland. Soon he was engaged in direct action on the issues of housing, unemployment and civil rights.

For many years his voice was banned from radio and television by both the British and Irish governments, while commentators and politicians condemned him and all he stood for. But through those years his books made an important contribution to an understanding of the true circumstances of life and politics in the north of Ireland.

James F. Clarity of the New York Times described him in the Irish Independent as "A good writer of fiction whose stories are not IRA agitprop but serious art."


RTE Guide

‘A definitive history of the Irish struggles of the 1970s, from the nationalist point of view. Adams, a fine writer, presents a straightforward, unapologetic memoir.’

Publishers Weekly

‘Gerry Adams is a gifted writer who, if he were not at the centre of the war-and-peace business, could easily make a living as an author.’ The New York Times

One of the most controversial but important political memoirs of recent times.

Publishing News

‘One thing about him is certain: Gerry Adams is a gifted writer who, if he were not at the centre of the war-and-peace business, could easily make a living as an author, of fiction or fact.’

The New York Times



Also by Gerry Adams:

The New Ireland
Black Mountain
Hope and History
Cage Eleven
The Street and other stories

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