“A book on this dramatic place was long overdue and Harnden has done a tremendous job, unearthing an abundance of secrets about the most secretive and effective part of the IRA…If you are to read only one book about the modern IRA, this should be it.”

Irish Times

“Toby Harnden…has written the definitive history of this troubled corner with flair, precision and an eye for the banality of terrorist violence…If you want to understand Northern Ireland and the knife-edge stumble along the precipice to peace, you must read this book. Harnden brings the conflict to life by interviewing the key players: the IRA man plotting murder in his kitchen, Thomas ‘Slab’ Murphy, the IRA’s enigmatic Chief of Staff, and the brigadier struggling to bring order to the UK’s final frontier…You will have to pinch yourself that this is not fiction but a medieval struggle which happened – and is still happening – in Tony Blair’s Cool Britannia.”

Sunday Express

“an impressive chronicle of a place not just apart but so far beyond most people’s experience that the dark side of the moon seems almost familiar by comparison”

Irish News

“Toby Harnden’s astounding account”

Belfast Telegraph

“Toby Harnden has done a masterful job of explaining why South Armagh is special. He traces the history of the area back as far as Plantation times. He has managed to talk to RUC and British Army personnel as well as republican activists. He steers a balanced course and writes objectively. The book is a triumph and should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in Northern Ireland.”

Irish Times

“My own copy, a birthday present from a life long friend, is literally falling to pieces it has been thumbed through so many times by numerous people. Brand new when I first read it, there is now barely a page attached to the spine. All those who read it were republicans. And each commented on it favourably…Harnden is to be commended for striking the balance that he did. Of course there is an integrity to Toby Harnden…Harnden, at some considerable risk to himself, has recently defied our legal ‘masters’…by refusing to disclose the identities of his sources.”

Anthony McIntyre (former IRA prisoner), The Blanket

“compelling and minutely researched…drawing on secret documents, Harnden names those behind the London [Canary Wharf] bombing…[he] gets into the mind of South Armagh”

The Examiner

“Toby Harnden’s chilling expose”

Toronto Star

“Courageous journalism and compulsive reading as Harnden goes inside the most impenetrable and deadly of the IRA Brigades. Good judgement; great sources.”

Peter Taylor, The Guardian

“To be surprised by a book is always welcome…Harnden is never seduced by the whiff of gunpowder. He enters this most complex, and dangerous, terrain with an open mind…Harnden’s book brims with fresh perspective and when he theorises – as he is not afraid to do – he does so with the confidence of someone who has made the significant effort of listening to all sides and checking out their ‘facts’. The most striking feature of the book is its proximity to real events. It reads like a forensic historical analysis, yet, the subject it addresses, in Irish political terms, could not be more contemporary. It is one thing to write a book this well researched and documented about a political/military situation that belongs firmly in the past. To do it when the group under question – the South Armagh IRA – is still largely intact, is a formidable achievement…Essential reading for anyone with a mind capable of changing.”

Daire O’Brien, Sunday Business Post

“Toby Harnden’s extraordinary account of the IRA in South Armagh.”

Irish Times

“Granted wide-ranging access to top republicans, military and police on both sides of the border, his controversial book contains many fresh insights into the battle of wits between the opposing sides of the conflict.”

Belfast News Letter

“Toby Harnden’s new book penetrates South Armagh, heartland of the Provisional IRA.”

Daily Telegraph

“Toby Harnden reveals the dramatic story behind the capture of the IRA’s top sniper team”

Belfast Telegraph

“…fresh information about the IRA murder of Captain Robert Nairac… the book also contains the first interview for more than a decade with a member of Capt Nairac’s family”

Newcastle Post

“The IRA nowadays may have nowhere to go politically if it resumes its campaign, but it is logistically far better placed than it was in the 1940s, 1950s or 1960s. Anyone doubting its physical potential should read Toby Harnden’s ‘Bandit Country – The IRA in South Armagh’. He sets out the capacity of a single area to bomb Britain, kill soldiers, strike out all over Northern Ireland and to innovate, carrying on producing newer and more deadly bombs right up to and beyond the ceasefire.”

Sunday Times

“If IRA disarmament provokes a split, the hard-line dissenters almost certainly will hail from South Armagh. The dissidents who tried to halt the peace process last year by detonating a car bomb in Omagh, killing 29 people, assembled the device on a local farm, according to British writer Toby Harnden.”

USA Today

“the best account yet of the South Armagh Provos”

Sunday Tribune

“That South Armagh has produced the most effective guerilla/terrorist army in the world is beyond doubt, as Toby Harnden’s recently published book ‘Bandit Country’ (Hodder & Stoughton) confirms”

Irish Times

“a fascinating and unrelenting account of what makes ‘Bandit Country’ a place apart from both the rest of Northern Ireland and Ireland”

Fortnight magazine

“the best insider account of the IRA”

Sunday Independent

“important and widely praised…Harnden paints a convincing picture of an area with a long history of resistance to authority and manages to identify people he claims are key local figures in the IRA campaign against British rule in Ireland”

Sunday Business Post

“It is startling… to discover how many of the leading actors in ‘Bandit Country’, a superb piece of reportage, are still alive and potentially active as gunmen and bombers.”

New Statesman

“Harnden quotes from sources which include RUC Special Branch collators’ indexes of suspects, written reports of RUC investigations into incidents, comments by RUC officers and Special Branch officers and a transcript of an RUC confidential phone call. It also includes information from informers’ statements to British military intelligence at Bessbrook Mill, an informer’s statement to a UDR handler, reports of British Army Intelligence Commanders and even publishes montage photographs of ‘IRA suspects’ and RUC photographs of an ‘IRA unit’.”

An Phoblacht/Republican News

“extremely detailed on military operations”

John Bruton, former Irish prime minister, in Daily Telegraph