In Northern Ireland, the conflicting claims and aspirations of Catholic and Protestant, nationalist and unionist, republican and loyalist grate against each other, at each turn escalating the potential for renewed death and destruction. Hope for a peaceful future is not enough to cont with history. In Ulster, history has vanquished hope so often that it seems an act of folly to expect it to be otherwise. Until recently, the crisis in Northern Ireland was deemed a problem without a solution. Now that the major antagonists have agreed to work for peace and democracy, it is time for an authoritative assessment of "the troubles" that have plagued Ulster for more than a quarter century.
A Belfast product of mixed Catholic and Protestant heritage, Jack Holland is both of and above the fray; he is the writer who has stayed close to the terrorists and antiterrorists of every persuasion since 1966. In this cogent and balanced history, he unravels the complex and often misunderstood story of "the troubles," offering an insightful look at the past, a thorough vision of the present, and a glimpse of what the future may hold.