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The Edge of the Union By Steve Bruce (Professor of Sociology, Professor of Sociology, University of Aberdeen)


On the 25th anniversary of the Northern Ireland 'Troubles', the Ulster Loyalists are alienated people. Here, the author provides insights into the Loyalist world-view. Describing the troubles as an ethnic conflict, he argues that failure to take into account the strength and importance of the loyalist identity will scupper the chances of peace.

The Edge of the Union Summary

The Edge of the Union: The Ulster Loyalist Political Vision by Steve Bruce (Professor of Sociology, Professor of Sociology, University of Aberdeen)

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Northern Ireland `Troubles', Ulster's once dominant unionists are an increasingly alienated people. In this timely assessment of the prospects for peace, Steve Bruce examines the embittered world-view of two key sections of Ulster unionism: the loyalist terrorists and the evangelical supporters of Ian Paisley. To get to the heart of the unionist position Bruce asks how they see the last twenty-five years, what they want from the future, what they think they will get, what they will accept, and what they will fight to oppose. He describes the Troubles as a deeply entrenched ethnic conflict. He argues that a failure to appreciate the strength of Loyalist identity has prevented a proper understanding of the Troubles and that continued neglect of the majority makes strategies for peace pointless or counter-productive.

The Edge of the Union Reviews

`Perhaps the most comprehensive exposition of Loyalist political culture to date.' The Sunday Telegraph
`Loyalists talked to him as one of their own ... this book is unlikely to cause pleasure in official circles, but it should be read by every voter.' The Independent on Sunday
`Bruce brings out the importance of religion in the loyalist world-view, and gives up-to-date insight into how Protestants see talks and the "peace process".' New Statesman and Society
`a valuable, and illuminating contribution to the present debate' The Irish Times
`No one who reads Bruce's account could any longer believe that the conflict is mainly, or even in part, the result of misunderstanding between the two communities' Sunday Telegraph
`This is a well-written, intelligent and timely work and has not dated as rapidly as Professor Bruce fears in his introductory remarks. His reasoning throughout is logical, and by the end of the book one has as good a grasp of loyalist political views as one could hope to get from a book of just over 170 pages ... both the hardback and paperback are well produced and attractively laid out. The book is well-indexed and references are compiled in endnotes at the back.' Terrorism and Political Violence
This, without doubt, is a very important book, which all those interested in Northern Ireland should read ... The importance - and indeed fascination - of this book lies in the insight it gives into loyalist thought ... The excellence of this book will be evident to anyone who reads it. * Talking Politics * excellent postulation of the Unionist cause in Northern Ireland...this book is essential to our view of 'The Troubles' * Political Studies *
...the main importance of this book is his great understanding of the loyalist vision and his ability to convey its polausibility. * Bullan, an Irish Studies Journal *
The Edge of the Union, as well as offering a necessary perspective on Northern Ireland, throws the light of actuality on contemporary theoretical preoccupations with the forms and claims of national and cultural identity. * Radical Philosophy *
His work is an illuminating study of the Unionist-Loyalist community in Northern Ireland ... Bruce's work is replete with distinctions in the interpretation of Unionist politics which others seem to have overlooked. * Imprints *
...a concise and acerbic re-examination of themes from his previous sociological studies of the Democratic Unionist Party. Bruce does the general reader a considerable favour by cutting through the byzantine and sometimes ritualistic rhetoric of parties in Northern Ireland. It is difficult to find fault with Bruce's well-written summary...Bruce has made a valuable contribution to the study of Northern Ireland. - Gerald Hall. H-Net Reviews. May 1998.

Additional information

The Edge of the Union: The Ulster Loyalist Political Vision by Steve Bruce (Professor of Sociology, Professor of Sociology, University of Aberdeen)
Used - Well Read
Oxford University Press
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Customer Reviews - The Edge of the Union