An almanac to the world of Whatever You Say, Say Nothing by Gilles Peress, also published by Steidl this season, Annals of the North combines essays, stories, photographs, documents and testimonies to open up for the reader the complicated and contradictory storylines that emerged from the conflict in the North of Ireland. Weighed down by 800 years of colonization but only the size of Connecticut (with half its population), the North provides a remarkably intimate stage set. Interweaving text and image, Annals of the North examines the multifaceted struggle between Irish Republicans / Nationalists, Protestant Unionists / Loyalists, and the imperial British to explore broader themes of empire, retribution, and betrayal, as well as the tense dialectic between the ordinary demands of everyday life and intense, periodic explosions of violence. Wide-ranging yet deeply personal and political, alternately dense and humorous, legal and literary, Annals of the North is an almanac, not an academic history of the North of Ireland, offering a multiplicity of entry points into the North, and, by extension, into the geopolitics of the twentieth century and their impact on the people trapped in the gears of the machine.
Annals of the North is about a time and a place, and about a group of people-friends, families, victims, soldiers, lovers, thinkers and spies-but it is also a book about another book. – Gilles Peress and Chris Klatell