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Summary

A pause resisting, real life thriller recounting the story of the Irish Republican Army Active Service Unit, placed in deep cover in London, and their murderous campaign against the British establishment. Equally gripping is the story of the Metropolitan police and their efforts to first identify the elusive group of terrorist, and then apprehend them. This is the true story of a deadly cat and mouse game played out on the streets of London that resulted in the infamous armed stand off at what would later be called the Balcombe Street Siege.

©2015 Dr. Steven P. Moysey (P)2019 Dr. Steven P. Moysey

Critic reviews

"This is the first comprehensive and all-embracing account of the events leading up to the hostage taking incident at Balcombe Street and the successful and peaceful efforts to secure the release of the victims and surrender of the perpetrators." (Lord Peter Imbert, CVO, QPM, DL)

What listeners say about The Road to Balcombe Street: The IRA Reign of Terror in London, Second Edition

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    4 out of 5 stars

Road to Balcombe Street

This is an in-depth telling of story from a period, although in the relatively recent past, resonates with events of today. If you'd thought that the likes of AQ or ISIL had cornered the market on spontaneous, indiscriminate and bloody violence then think again. The IRA got there 30 or 40 years before them.
Steven Moysey's analysis is sometimes perhaps overly academic for some readers, but gives plenty of context and reminds us of just how fraught the political landscape of the 1970s actually was - for those of us growing up at the time that were fixed on events and not so much the causes.
The narration is slick and well-delivered; the sound quality excellent.
If you're interested in this kind of recent British history, or just want to understand what an accomplished and disciplined terrorist organisation the Provisional IRA really was, then this is the book for you.

5 people found this helpful

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Let down by narration in parts

This could have been an excellent listen, it seems to have been very well researched and well written up to a point.

The narrator has an excellent voice, tone and speed, but spoils the lot with brutal incorrect pronunciations of non English names and place names and use of a comical (if it was not for the content of the book) accents for the IRA members. Why he deemed it necessary to do their voices in any accent at all is beyond me, no other characters that figured in the book including Dr Ian Paisley, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher or George Mitchell came in for any of his amateur voice acting.

The authors tone in relation to the miscarriage of justice suffered by the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six seems to cause regret or unease for the wrong reasons, my interpretation of the authors coverage of both cases is that he would have preferred they remained jailed regardless of the evidence of their innocence, so not an academic study of this dark episode in history, a well researched but slightly biased view.

Finally it could have been an hour shorter, the lightweight review of siege tactics by police in sieges generally, not specific to the title is just filler at the end and better covered in other publications if that was what the reader was interested in.

4 people found this helpful

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A good listen - with caveats

An ‘enjoyable’ and engaging listen - if these terms are appropriate. Students of ‘the Troubles’, and indeed anyone who came of age in the 1970s, will find much here to appreciate. The events are very much set in the wider context of the day and the author gives a very good sense of time and place. I can see why the work is in the process of being adapted by a screenwriter. In short, I would recommend the book. However, with a few caveats..

For listeners of a left-leaning or Irish nationalist/Republican persuasion the author’s unconscious prejudices and biases can be a bit jarring. Northern Ireland is always ‘the Province’ or ‘Ulster’, terms most centrist journalists ditched a long time ago. Similarly, there is a frequent conflation of England and the UK, and the sense of entitlement of both in the frequent reference to ‘the Mainland’. Another irritation is the author’s use of somewhat Alan Partridge-meets-Andy McNab turns of phrase. For instance, IRA bombs are described as becoming “increasingly lethal” (increasingly?), while “gallant” police officers “take immediate command of the situation” and are engaged in a “deadly game of cat and mouse” with the enemy. For me this was all a bit wince-inducing and I struggled to get past it. I’m glad I did though as it’s a worthy effort and this is the only full-length book on this very important episode in recent British/Irish political history.

3 people found this helpful

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Informative

Really interesting insight into events.
Gives the perspective primarily from the Police aspect but consideration is given to the feelings and thoughts of the IRA men
Learnt alot I never knew

2 people found this helpful

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Very Good and informative

This is a very in depth listen about The Batcombe St siege I was 5 at the time so don't remember it but I did start taking an interest in The Guildfor Four a year or two before their release. It is quite long but I would say you can't go wrong with this

1 person found this helpful

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The Road To Balcombe Street From Both Sides.

May I start by saying what an excellent piece of writing by Dr Steven P Moysey with expert narration by Jon S Dixon.

The dedication and hours of research that Dr Moysey put into this is nothing short of remarkable. I didn’t know what to expect from this book, but I didn’t foresee it being read as a sort of documentary, rather than actors playing the part with different voices.

As the introduction got underway, I found myself intrigued as it opened my mind and memories back to my childhood days. Funny how certain instances trigger your memory that you have put aside all those years, then suddenly comes back like it was only yesterday. We the public only ever get to hear one side of the story, with this book, we get to hear both. And, with both versions it really makes you stop and think.

Knowing full well that this book has now be made into a film. I tried to visualise certain scenes being played out on screen. However, what you hear and read in book format, is always played out differently on screen. Therefore, I would recommend to all, to listen too this audible version as it will in no way put you off the film.

Compared to some audible books, The Road To Balcombe Street is fairly short, but is highly in depth all the way through from being to end. I am so glad I had a chance to listen to this before the film version Borderland is released to all, as I feel now that I will be able to understand what is being played on screen with more understanding.

So once again, thank you to Dr Moysey for writing this book and many congratulations for this being made into a film, which it so rightly deserves.

1 person found this helpful

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Comprehensive, Insightful and Enthralling

For anybody with an interest in modern Irish history this is an absolute must read.

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Very well detailed and precise

The author demonstrates a good understanding of the reasons why the ASU was deployed

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Detailed, Sobering, and Insightful.

Very detailed blow by blow account of the events leading up to the Balcombe Street Siege.
The primary strength of this account is the detail, using police records, and interviews.
It is sobering and thought provoking since it does not eulogise nor demonise the IRA asu, however the objective descriptions of the injuries and deaths inflicted arising from their actions leaves a strong impression.

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Very interesting

An Interesting true story, but to me it sounds a bit like keystone kops, luck has a lot to do with the capture of the Active Service Unit. I feel this story could have been shorted a lot, there was too much repetition of the story and well dragged out.
The narrator thought I thought was brilliant, very clear and a pleasure to listen too.
It is definitely worth reading or listening too.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-03-20

Fact-dense with fantastic analysis!

I discovered this book in August of 2019. The book is dominated by facts and an in depth analysis of the events, as well a look at the psychological states of those involved. The author covers the events leading up to Balcombe St in fantastic detail, as well as a very thorough play-by-play of the six day siege on Balcombe St during December 1975. In February 2020, I visited London for the first time. During my trip, I visited a few locations from the book. While in the area of Balcombe St, I listened again to the chapter involving the pursuit of the ASU up Rossmore Rd, and eventually down the stairs to Taunton Pl/Boston Pl/Balcombe St. The description of the events was so vivid that I could almost see the events taking place in front of me. This book is a must read for any fan of British and/or Irish history.

2 people found this helpful

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  • DK Marley
  • 14-07-19

Enlightening and Intriguing

I must say that the history of the IRA reign of terror was something I was only familiar with by hearing about the story on national news from time to time all those years ago, and since in 1975 I was still so young, I honestly did not know much about the details. This is truly an enlightening and intriguing narrative about the atrocities wrought upon London by these terrorists. At times, I did feel a little overwhelmed about the details and wished I had bought the book at the same time to follow along, however, I do feel this is a good story, not only for the quality but for the depth of the research and history relayed in this book. He does an outstanding job in the amount of detail. Also, Jon Dixon, as the narrator, is incredible and his smooth and fluid voice adds much to the narrative and holding a listener's interest in the storyline. I look forward to the movie in the making and I do recommend this book as a great read and listen.

2 people found this helpful

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  • x
  • 05-07-19

Excellently researched, informative and narrated

This book has been excellently researched and as such, highly informative of the various factors that led to the siege at Balcombe Street.
Counter-terrorist specialist Dr Steve Moysey is thorough in establishing the authentic details surrounding the build-up to the siege, the siege itself and the conclusion from meticulously reviewing the evidence he collected.
He explains the psychological aspects of all those involved and thoroughly describes the negotiation tactics employed by the negotiators.
Superbly narrated by Jon C Dixon.

2 people found this helpful