In This Review

Making Peace
Making Peace
By George J. Mitchell
Alfred A. Knopf, 1999, 193 pp

The two landmarks of the Northern Ireland peace process over the last decade are the Downing Street Declaration of 1993 and the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Former Senator Mitchell led the panel of outside mediators that helped produce the Good Friday understanding and he has now written a memoir of his work from 1995 to 1998. Thankfully, it is too brief to convey a full sense of the exhausting but deadly important wrangling involved. Yet the reader needs only a little imagination to come away impressed with the patience, dedication, and courage displayed by Mitchell, his colleagues, and their staffs. From this concise, modest account, Mitchell complemented those qualities with measured judgment and ingenuity. Carefully composed at a time when the issues and people are still very much alive, this book is often eloquent in what it does not say. Among many key figures, Unionist politician David Trimble was apparently the truly indispensable man, exhibiting an array of skills that few other politicians would even understand. Among the author's gifts is that he does understand, perhaps even more now than he did before coming to Northern Ireland.