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Are You With Me?

Kevin Boyle and the Rise of the Human Rights Movement

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Kevin Boyle was one of the world’s great human rights lawyers. In a career that lasted decades and spanned continents, he tackled issues ranging from freedom of the press to terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism to the rights of gay people, women and minorities. This compelling account of Kevin Boyle’s life and work is an inspiring tale of how a taxi driver’s son from Northern Ireland became a globally renowned activist, advocate, and academic, inspiring the human rights movement around the world.

Born in Newry in 1943, Boyle attended Queen’s University Belfast in the early 1960s, beginning to teach law in 1966. He was a co-founder of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association and the People’s Democracy, mediated during the 1981 hunger strikes and helped forge the intellectual underpinning of the agreement that ended the Troubles. Through a series of landmark cases at the European Court of Human Rights, he left an enduring mark on international human rights law, campaigning against apartheid in South Africa and repression in Turkey. He also played a critical role as the senior advisor to Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as helping to found human rights law centres at universities from Ireland and Britain to Brazil and Japan.
Though Kevin Boyle was a towering figure in his field, his personal story and his impact in crucial areas is not well known. Now, based on years of research, thousands of documents, and scores of interviews, former CNN correspondent Mike Chinoy has crafted the compelling life story of a remarkable Irishman.

 

As a foreign correspondent for CNN for 24 years, Mike Chinoy won Emmy, Peabody and Dupont awards for his journalism. While he worked primarily in China and North Korea, he also reported on the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 80s. It was during this time that he met Kevin Boyle. Chinoy is currently a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the University of Southern California’s US-China Institute and is based in Hong Kong. His books include China Live: People, Power, and Television Revolution (1999), Meltdown: The Inside Story of the North Korean Nuclear Crisis (2008), and The Last POW (2014). His work has been widely acclaimed across the globe.

 

Photo credit: (c) Victor Patterson

Cover design: Daniel Gray

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1 review for Are You With Me?

  1. Lilliput Press

    ‘In this beautifully-written and fascinating book, Mike Chinoy has brought to life one of the great pioneering human rights lawyers of our times, a brilliant and dedicated fighter for justice, first in Northern Ireland and then on the international stage.’ – Conor O’Clery, The Shoemaker and His Daughter

    ‘The story of the late Kevin Boyle is well worth telling. I knew him first through the Peoples Democracy student movement and subsequently as my law lecturer in Queens University Belfast. He was a then reluctant (and now a largely overlooked) civil rights leader in Northern Ireland of the late 1960s and early 1970s. He later came into his own outside Northern Ireland as an influential human rights academic and advocate. Never one to be seek the often overcrowded limelight his name and legacy slipped into an obscurity from which Mike Chinoy has deservedly rescued him.’ – Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese

    ‘A terrific biography told by a world-class journalist.’ – Dan Rather, former anchor of CBS News ; ‘Mike Chinoy has written a compelling chronicle of the life of Kevin Boyle, from his role as the “legal Martin Luther King” of the Northern Ireland civil rights struggle to his pioneering work in the modern international human rights movement as an activist, a lawyer, and an academic. I cannot stress enough what a major contribution Chinoy has made to human rights literature. It is a must-read!’ – Professor Bert Lockwood, Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights, University of Cincinnati, and Editor-in-Chief of Human Rights Quarterly

    ‘This is the story of a great lawyer … a diligent and capable teacher and scholar who helped to bring about the peace process in Northern Ireland, led the fight for free speech during the Rushdie Affair and fought to uphold the UN human rights system after 9/11 … This book is not only a fitting memorial to Kevin Boyle, but will enable his inspiration to continue after his untimely death. He was a gentle man of great kindness and, when he upheld in Northern Ireland the banner of civil liberties against sectarian violence from all sides, a man of true courage.’ – Geoffrey Robertson AO QC, founder and joint head of Doughty Street Chambers

    ‘Kevin Boyle contributed to the building of modern Ireland, and the wider world, as a place of universal human rights. Practitioner, law teacher, activist and global champion of human rights, Boyle deserves this splendid biography. It explains his place in the pantheon of human rights champions.’ – Michael Kirby, former Justice of the High Court of Australia and past President of the International Commission of Jurists ; ‘An eloquent account of the life and work of one of the greatest heroes who has ever worked in the sphere of human rights … The world was made a better place because of Kevin Boyle – a charismatic, generous and ebullient figure – and I am delighted that Mike Chinoy has written this book.’ – Zeinab Badawi, broadcaster and former Chair of Article 19

    ‘Brilliant and charismatic in equal measure, Kevin Boyle … showed how scholarship could be done with an eye to real change. What a pleasure it is to have a book that brings his fully-lived life back into view.’ – Conor Gearty, Professor of Human Rights Law, London School of Economics

    ‘Mike Chinoy has written an engaging portrait of Boyle the lawyer and Boyle the man, and anyone interested in Ireland, justice, or international law should read this book.’ – Hurst Hannum, Professor of International Law at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

    ‘Part of the problem in remembering the past in Northern Ireland is that the people who were most demonstrative and aggressive are given their place in history while the more effectively assertive and tactically intelligent are bypassed. Mike Chinoy has placed Kevin Boyle back at the heart of the story, where he belongs, as a civil rights activist and lawyer who went on to gain global importance. He shows Boyle to have been a man of thoughtful conscience and immense personal courage who was concerned with the rights of all and who – along with allies like Tom Hadden – has bequeathed us an impartial emphasis on rights untainted by prejudice or allegiance. Chinoy brings the necessary journalistic thoroughness to this story of a world-shaker whose moves were quiet, deliberate and compassionate.’ – Malachi O’Doherty, Gerry Adams: An Unauthorised Life

    ‘Mike Chinoy has done a major service by chronicling the extraordinary range of Kevin Boyle’s work over nearly 50 years and in interviewing over 100 people so as to paint a fascinating picture of this quiet, soft spoken, but determined defender of human rights. This book should be read by everyone interested in human rights, not just in Northern Ireland, but in every country where rights need to be defended.’ – Michael Farrell, Solicitor, Former Chair of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, and early leader of the Northern Ireland civil rights movement

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ISBN
9781843517726
Weight 0.5 kg