Dillon, Martin 1949-
DILLON, Martin 1949-
PERSONAL: Born June 2, 1949, in Belfast, Northern Ireland; son of Gerard (a telephone engineer) and Mary Theresa (Clarke) Dillon; married Mildred Smyth (a general administrative officer), August 24, 1973. Education: Attended Montfort College, 1961, and Belfast College of Business Studies, 1968-70. Politics: "To be revealed." Hobbies and other interests: Reading, listening to music, and observing.
CAREER: Full-time author and terrorism expert. Worked as reporter for Irish News, 1968-72; and for Belfast Telegraph, 1972-73, both in Belfast, Northern Ireland; British Broadcasting Corporation, Belfast, regional news assistant, 1973-74, talks producer, 1974—. Was the expert on terrorism for news outlets on SKY Television and Channel Four and has been featured on news shows in the British Isles and on U.S. networks, such as Cable News Network (CNN) and American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. (ABC).
MEMBER: National Union of Journalists.
(With Denis Lehane) Political Murder in Northern Ireland, Penguin (New York, NY), 1973.
"The Squad" (play), broadcast by BBC on radio and television, 1976.
(With Roy Bradford) Rogue Warrior of the SAS: Lt-Col "Paddy" Blair Mayne, DSO, (3 Bars), Croix de Guerre, Legion D'Honneur, J. Murray (London, England), 1987.
The Shankill Butchers: A Case Study of Mass Murder, Hutchinson (London, England), 1989.
(Editor) Interfaces for Information Retrieval and Online Systems: The State of the Art, Greenwood Press (New York, NY), 1991.
Killer in Clowntown: Joe Doherty, the IRA, and the Special Relationship, Arrow Books (London, England), 1992.
Stone Cold: The True Story of Michael Stone and the Milltown Massacre, Hutchinson (London, England), 1992.
The Enemy Within, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1994.
The Serpent's Tail (novel), R. Cohen Books (London, England), 1995.
God and the Gun: The Church and Irish Terrorism, Routledge (New York, NY), 1998.
The Dirty War: Covert Strategies and Tactics Used in Political Conflicts, Routledge (New York, NY), 1999.
(With Thomas Gordon) Robert Maxwell, Israel's Superspy: The Life and Murder of a Media Mogul, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2003.
Also author of plays for television and radio and author and producer of documentaries for Channel Four, the BBC, and RTE.
SIDELIGHTS: Martin Dillon is a former journalist for the British Broadcasting Corporation who has turned his investigations of terrorism and corruption in Northern Ireland into several critically acclaimed books, including a three-book series in which he investigates those responsible for the violence that plagues Northern Ireland. In The Shankill Butchers: A Case Study of Mass Murder, he reports on a Loyalist band of killers, named in the title of the book, who murdered many Catholics in Belfast. The sequel Killer in Clowntown: Joe Doherty, the IRA, and the Special Relationship "can be read at the level of an extraordinary adventure story," observed Esmond Wright in Contemporary Review. This book describes the life of Joe Doherty, an Irish-American hero who was arrested for a political murder, but then managed to escape from a high-security prison with the help of many civilians sympathizing with his cause. Wright dubbed Killer in Clowntown "an accurately assembled, chilling and fascinating book." The Dirty War: Covert Strategies and Tactics Used in Political Conflicts, the third book in the series, describes how the British security forces secretly murdered IRA operatives while the IRA bombed and murdered British troops.
In God and the Gun: The Church and Irish Terrorism, Dillon tackles the relationship between religion and violence in Northern Ireland. While most people believe the conflict in Northern Ireland is religious, Moore examines contributing factors, such as a violent labor struggle in the 1920s between Protestant elites and a Protestant-Catholic labor force and the nationalist struggle against the British army. By interviewing both Protestant and Catholic paramilitary and religious leaders, Dillon attempts to give a balanced portrayal of the conflict.
Writing about God and the Gun in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Michael Flynn explained, "The notion that the IRA 'hijacked' the civil rights movement is not an altogether foreign sentiment on the Catholic side. However, as Dillon demonstrates through interviews with Catholic priests and former IRA members, the church's failure to address injustice was critical in enabling the IRA to capture 'the hearts and minds of Catholic nationalists.'" "There are many passages that make the book poignant and ironic as Dillon concludes that what should have been a civil rights struggle was manipulated into a religious war," Robert C. Moore observed in Library Journal. Moore felt, however, that "Dillon bogs down a bit at the end, reciting history to put his story in context," but concluded that the book "is still essential for all Irish history collections."
Dillon and coauthor Gordon Thomas question whether the death of a media giant was really an accident in Robert Maxwell, Israel's Superspy: The Life and Murder of a Media Mogul. Maxwell supposedly drowned in a 1991 boating mishap off the coast of the Canary Islands. The authors contend that he was murdered by officials from Mossad, his former employer, after a failed extortion attempt. To back up their theory, Dillon and Thomas interview a former Mossad agent and a former Mossad assasin, who says he was involved in Maxwell's murder. They also interview Maxwell's widow, daughter, two former CIA directors, and three former prime ministers of Israel.
While most critics considered the book entertaining, they were not completely convinced that Maxwell was murdered. Dillon and Thomas "don't prove their case beyond a shadow of a doubt, but they do present a reasoned and well-supported argument," concluded Booklist's David Pitt, who added, "Whether it's the startling truth or merely revisionist nonsense, it makes a thought-provoking and compelling book." A Publishers Weekly reviewer described the book as "somewhat over-reaching" but noted that "those interested in the world of international intrigue will find themselves engrossed."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2003, David Pitt, review of Robert Maxwell, Israel's Superspy: The Life and Murder of a Media Mogul, p. 1023.
Books Magazine, February, 1996, review of Twenty-five Years of Terror, p. 24.
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July-August, 1998, Michael Flynn, review of God and the Gun: The Church and Irish Terrorism, pp. 57-60.
Choice, September, 1992, review of Interfaces for Information Retrieval and Online Systems, p. 96.
Contemporary Review, March, 1993, Esmond Wright, review of Killer in Clowntown: Joe Doherty, the IRA, and the Special Relationship, p. 160.
Daily Telegraph, January 4, 2003, Alan Dershowitz, "Was he pushed?: This tale of Maxwell's death is too incredible, insists Alan Dershowitz."
Guardian, December 11, 1997, review of God and the Gun, p. 12.
Guardian Weekly, July 8, 1990, review of The Dirty War: Covert Strategies and Tactics Used in Political Conflicts, p. 29.
Journal of Academic Librarianship, May, 1992, review of Interfaces for Information Retrieval and Online Systems, p. 122.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 1999, review of The Dirty War, p. 348; March 15, 1999, review of The Shankill Butchers: A Case Study of Mass Murder, p. 424; November 1, 2002, review of Robert Maxwell, Israel's Superspy, p. 1603.
Library Journal, April 1, 1999, Robert C. Moore, review of God and the Gun, p. 116; January, 2003, Daniel K. Blewett, review of Robert Maxwell, Israel's Superspy, p. 126.
Library Resources and Technical Services, January, 1993, review of Interfaces for Information Retrieval and Online Systems, p. 106.
Listener, October 12, 1989, review of The Shankill Butchers, p. 29.
M2 Best Books, October 29, 2002, review of Robert Maxwell, Israel's Superspy.
New Statesman and Society, October 13, 1989, Kevin Toolis, review of The Shankill Butchers, p. 35; February 23, 1996, review of Twenty-five Years of Terror, p. 45.
Publishers Weekly, March 2, 1998, review of God and the Gun, p. 50; January 6, 2003, review of Robert Maxwell, Israel's Superspy, p. 55.
Reference and Research Book News, review of God and the Gun, August, 1998, p. 24.
Times Literary Supplement, December 15, 1989, Sarah Nelson, review of The Shankill Butchers, p. 1394; March 3, 1995, Charles Townshend, review of The Enemy Within, p. 32; May 1, 1998, Eunan O'Halpin, review of God and the Gun, p. 28.
Ann Online,http://www.annonline.com/ (June 28, 2004), "Biography of Martin Dillon."*