Frank Acknowledgments

J.J. Lee

  • Ulster: Conflict and Consent by Tom Wilson
    Blackwell, 330 pp, £9.95, June 1989, ISBN 0 631 17006 5
  • Biting at the grave: The Irish Hunger Strikes and the Politics of Despair by Padraig O’Malley
    Blackstaff, 330 pp, £9.95, October 1990, ISBN 0 85640 453 5
  • Politics in the Streets: The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement in Northern Ireland by Bob Purdie
    Blackstaff, 286 pp, £9.95, September 1990, ISBN 0 85640 437 3

Tom Wilson’s Ulster counts among the handful of truly distinguished analyses of the Ulster question. However many reservations a Nationalist may have about his assumptions, his text offers an admirable basis for constructive debate: this is one of those rare books about a tragic problem that one wishes were longer. Its superior quality brings us up starkly against the bleakness of the problem. Wilson’s solution is that the IRA should he repressed by a variety of simultaneous measures, including internment, North and South, and that Nationalists should indefinitely postpone the attainment of their aspirations. Stressing the need for consensus on a future regime ‘that is universally supported, or nearly so’, he urges fair treatment for Nationalists within Northern Ireland. These proposals seem to me to be unrealistic, for three reasons.

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