In 1978, the bloody conflict in Northern Ireland, known as The Troubles, reached a boiling point.
Hundreds of members of the Irish Republican Army determined to drive the hated British out of the province—killing soldiers and police, detonating bombs, while arming themselves with firearms and explosives—were arrested and incarcerated in a notorious British prison known as the Maze.
Sunday, November 26, 1978, two IRA gunmen kicked in the front door at 8 Evelyn Gardens in Belfast—the home of Maze prison official Albert Miles. They then executed Miles in front of his horrified family and vanished into the night.
In 1983, at the end of the longest and most-publicized trial in the county’s history, twenty-four-year-old Catholic taxicab driver Kevin Barry Artt was convicted and sentenced to life for Miles' murder. On his way to the Maze, in manacles and still professing his innocence, Artt prayed for an opportunity to escape.
Six weeks later, his prayers were answered—he made a daring and dramatic escape, fleeing to California and going underground. For decades, the British government, aided by the US Department of State and FBI, relentlessly sought him while he managed to stay just steps ahead of his pursuers.
ABOVE THE GROUND: A True Story from The Troubles in Northern Ireland is a gripping chronicle of one of the darkest periods in Northern Ireland's history, highlighting themes of injustice, perseverance, and hope through Kevin's escape and struggle.
Acclaim for ABOVE THE GROUND
A startling, memorable forensic account of British rule in Ireland.” —SEAMUS DEANE, Irish historian, The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing and Reading in the Dark
Dan Lawton’s book tells the whole story. And what a story—[in] riveting detail... remind[ing] us that every one of our lives can make a difference, and change happens in our fragile, broken world because that single person is willing to say, I am who I am.” —ALAN ABRAHAMSON, Best-selling author, No Limits: The Will to Succeed with Michael Phelps, and Zero Regrets: Be Greater than Yesterday, with Apolo Ohno
It sounds like the fictional plot of a blockbuster thriller... [W]ith his lawyer’s eye and passion to expose injustice, Lawton makes this a timeless and borderless tale... [E]ssential reading for anyone who hopes to understand not only the Irish conflict, but how the rule of law can be subverted in any divided society.” —MICHAEL BEATTIE, former Head of News and Current Affairs at Ulster Television, producer of television documentaries ‘Unlocking the Maze’ (UTV 1983) and ‘Breakout’ (BBC 2008)
A gripping tale of survival and redemption which combines elements of true crime, courtroom drama, and a daring prison escape... ABOVE THE GROUND answers urgent and timeless questions: What price do nations pay when they abandon the rule of law in order to crush terrorism? Why do innocents falsely confess to crimes they don’t commit? Despite the best efforts of police and paramilitaries to ruin his life, how does a victim of those efforts not become embittered? ...[O]ne of the best books ever written by an American about Northern Ireland and a must read for those interested in promoting peace.” —NANCY SODERBERG Former deputy assistant to the President for national security affairs (1993-1997), The Superpower Myth: The Use and Misuse of American Might
[A] vivid narrative of a victim caught up in forces beyond his control, meticulously researched and compellingly told... visceral... traumatic passage...” —ALAN DOWTY, Author and historian
“The story is as old as time—injustice, oppression and the fight—in this case the flight—for freedom... With Dan Lawton’s steady hand this timeless story unfolds and enfolds with gripping prose deepened by painstaking detail and a panoramic view.” —MAJOR GARRETT, Chief Washington Correspondent, CBS News and author of Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride
About the Author
DAN LAWTON’s short fiction, essays, and columns have appeared in several journals and periodicals since 2001. ABOVE THE GROUND: A True Story of the Troubles in Northern Ireland is Dan’s first work of nonfiction. Dan is a native of Los Angeles, California, and resides in San Diego, where he is a practicing lawyer and adjunct law professor.