Photograph by William Mebane

Photograph by William Mebane


A New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the 2019 Orwell Prize for Political Writing
Shortlisted for the Kirkus Prize
Longlisted for the National Book Award
Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Award for Excellence in Nonfiction

“The year’s most gripping nonfiction title…An unforgettable murder mystery.” Entertainment Weekly

“Breathtaking in scope and ambition…A searing examination of the nature of truth in war and the toll taken by violence and deceit… An unrelenting, epic work.” The Sunday Times (UK)

From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, an intricate narrative of a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions

In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction and murder was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Patrick Radden Keefe's mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. In uncovering and bearing witness to the awful truth of what happened to one woman, Keefe tells a tale that stretches to the present day, deftly weaving together the stories of a series of indelible characters whose lives were shaped by what happened to McConville, and of a secret oral history project at Boston College that brought incendiary details about this mystery to light. Based on four years of reporting, SAY NOTHING is a true crime narrative that sheds new light on a terrible murder, a war story about life and death during the Troubles, a meditation on radical politics and the suffering that people will endure--and inflict--in pursuit of a political ideal, and a vivid portrait of a society unable to shake free of its own tragic past. 



Patrick Radden Keefe's gripping account of the Troubles is equal parts true crime, history, and tragedy. Keefe's incisive reporting reveals the hidden costs of the Troubles, illuminating both the terrible toll of the conflict, and how it continues to reverberate today.  A must read. —Gillian Flynn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl

Patrick Radden Keefe uses the old Irish phrase, ‘Whatever you say, say nothing,’ to suggest and to say just about everything. Keefe's great accomplishment is to capture the tragedy of the Troubles on a human scale. By tracing the intersecting lives of a handful of unforgettable characters, he has created a deeply honest and intimate portrait of a society still haunted by its own violent past. Say Nothing is a bracing, empathetic, heartrending work of storytelling.
Colum McCann, New York Times bestselling author of TransAtlantic and Let the Great World Spin, Winner of the National Book Award

Meticulously reported, exquisitely written, and grippingly told, Say Nothing is a work of revelation. Keefe not only peels back, layer by layer, the truth behind one of the most important and mysterious crimes of a terrible conflict; he also excavates the history of the Troubles, and illuminates its repercussions to this day.
David Grann, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon

Smart, searching, and utterly absorbing, Say Nothing sweeps us into the heart of one of the modern world’s bitterest conflicts and, with unusual compassion, walks us back out again along the road to reconciliation. This is more than a powerful, superbly reported work of journalism. It is contemporary history at its finest.
Maya Jasanoff, Professor of History at Harvard, author of the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Liberty’s Exiles and The Dawn Watch

A shattering, intimate study of how young men and women consumed by radical political violence are transformed by the history they make, and struggle to come to terms with the blood they have shed, Say Nothing is a powerful reckoning. Keefe has written an essential book.

Philip Gourevitch, author of the National Book Critics Circle Award winner We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families

Patrick Radden Keefe has the rare ability to convey an intimate story that powerfully illuminates a much larger one. Combining the skills of an investigative journalist with the storytelling power of a suspense novelist, Keefe brilliantly represents the menace and intrigue that devastated Belfast during The Troubles, and shows the course of ordinary lives headed toward inevitable and awful collision. By turns gripping and profoundly revelatory, Say Nothing shines a brighter light on Northern Ireland's tragic past than any history book.
—Scott Anderson
, New York Times bestselling author of Lawrence in Arabia

Say Nothing is a piercing inquiry into the nature of political violence and its aftermath, by one of the best reporters in the United States. In this beautifully written book, Patrick Radden Keefe delves into the heart of the IRA, chronicling the worst years of the Troubles and the ghosts that continue to haunt Belfast even now that the fighting is over. Faulkner had it right: 'The past is never dead. It’s not even past.'
Peter Bergen, New York Times bestselling author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad