Continuing about a decade after the conclusion of 1949, 1972 contines the Halloran family saga from Barry's point of view. Inspired by the stories his grandfather Ned had told him, the history of Ireland, and his mother's politics, Barry joins the IRA. He loves the comraderie of the army but the violence of the organization eventually leads him to try and find more peaceful solutions to the problem and he eventually becomes known for his photographs of the tragic situation. Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, inspired by the American Civil Rights movement the ordinary Catholics also try to find a peaceful solution. The movement was really gaining headway until that was all destroyed on an April day in 1972 when the British military herded a peace march into a warren of tiny streets and opened fire, with an order to shoot to kill. This day was immediately christened Bloody Sunday.
This is one of the best books in the series. While 1949 suffered from a lack of depth in the characterization of Ursala and those people who surrounded her, Barry was a wonderfully realized three dimensional character. As in the first three books, the knowledge and passion Llywelyn has for the Irish problem is vast. At times she almost seemed to devolve into a lecturing tone but before it could get too bad she would return to the storyline. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in modern history, or even those who just want to understand the meaning behind U2's song "Sunday Bloody Sunday."