DIT lecturer releases first book on experiences of Irish troops in war

22 November, 2012: Last night DIT lecturer Tom Clonan launched his first book Blood, Sweat and Tears: An Irish Soldier's Story of Love and Loss. The book, which has already attracted positive acclaim from all corners of the world, is a refreshingly honest and open story of Tom Clonan's time spent in the Irish Army, in particular on a tour of duty to Lebanon in the 90s. Poet Theo Dorgan officially launched the book at a reception in the National Library of Ireland.

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In Blood, Sweat and Tears Clonan describes the experience of Irish troops in Lebanon as never before. Through the eyes of a young officer on his first tour of duty overseas, the reader is brought to the Lebanon, to deal with a young man coming to terms with loss of innocence and loss of ideals in a time of war. His vivid account brings you from a rain-swept Dublin Airport on a dark October night to the massacre of 118 innocent men, women and children in the village of Qana, South Lebanon on 18th of April 1996. For the first time, the experiences of Irish troops are told in the vernacular of the Irish soldier, warts and all. The reader is taken on patrol with the Irish army and comes under fire with them; shares their fears, frustration and pain and shares in the bleak, black humour employed by Irish soldiers as a survival mechanism in combat conditions.

Irish troops have served 40,000 individual tours of duty over four decades in Lebanon. All over Ireland, in almost every family, there is a father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter or cousin who has come under hostile fire in South Lebanon. Some Irish soldiers never came home. Forty seven Irish troops have died in Lebanon. Thousands more returned with physical and psychological injuries. Despite this intimate link with the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Lebanon and Israel, there is little public understanding of our military involvement in Lebanon. Blood, Sweat and Tears redresses that imbalance.

Blood, Sweat and Tears will make you laugh. It will make you cry. Above all, it is a story that deals with personal loss, loneliness and the psychological trauma of military service in a time of war.

A lecturer in DIT’s School of Media, Tom gives courses on the political economy of communication and forensic research methodologies on postgraduate programmes at DIT including the MA in Journalism, MA in International Journalism, MA in Public Affairs and Political Communication and the MA in Public Relations. Prior to his role in DIT, Tom served as an Irish Army Officer. He served in operational units at home in Ireland and on active overseas duty in Lebanon. He commanded troops in Lebanon during the controversial and violent Israeli 'Operation Grapes of Wrath' in April 1996 and worked as an OSCE Election Monitor in Bosnia during the implementation of the Dayton Accords in 1996. Today, in addition to his role in DIT, he is Security Analyst with the Irish Times, where he provides in-depth defense and military analysis of fast-moving international events. He also provides expert military and security analysis to RTÉ television and radio, and international broadcasters including the BBC and Sky News. Blood, Sweat and Tears is his first book.

'Tom Clonan brings to life the sights, sounds, smells and characters of southern Lebanon. His beautifully written book is in turns funny, gripping and heart-breaking.'

Lara Marlowe, Washington Correspondent for The Irish Times and former Bureau Chief for Time Magazine

Blood, Sweat and Tears is published by www.LibertiesPress.com (priced at €14.99). For more information see http://www.libertiespress.com/Blood,_Sweat_and_Tears/152/

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