A Political History of the Two Irelands

A Political History of the Two Irelands : from Partition to Peace


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This ground-breaking political history of the two Irish States provides unique new insights into the 'Troubles' and the peace process. It examines the impact of the fraught dynamics between the competing identities of the Nationalist-Catholic-Irish Community on the one hand and the Unionist-Protestant-British community on the other. Brian Walker provides a new understanding of the outbreak of the 'Troubles' in 1969 and the subsequent peace process. He argues that exclusive and confrontational ideas of identity developed in North and South Ireland after 1921, which helped to lead to the outbreak of violence nearly forty years later. The rise of more pluralist and conciliatory views of identity has greatly assisted the recent move to accommodation and relative peace. In an innovative approach, Walker examines the role of commemorations and the influence of 'history.' Recent developments such as the successful establishment of the power-sharing executive in Belfast are covered as is the recent visit of Queen Elizabeth to Dublin.

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  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 138 x 214 x 20mm | 381.02g
  • Palgrave MacMillan
  • BasingstokeUnited Kingdom
  • English
  • 0230361471
  • 9780230361478
  • 1,174,677

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'It is refreshing to encounter a book that explains the way the modern histories of the two Irelands -north and south- have intertwined and formed a dizzyingly self-reinforcing feedback system: sometimes for the better, mostly for the worse. Professor Brian Walker is one of the few writers who can catch this interaction with clarity and a strong and fair sense of evidence. I recommend this book highly to anyone who cares about where Ireland has been - and where it is going.' - Donald Harman Akenson, Douglas Professor of History, Queen's University, Canada 'There are always other narratives in a nation's history, which are hidden or consciously excluded by those with a vested interest in doing so. In this timely overview of Ireland's political history in the last century, Brian Walker takes a wide European and all-Ireland viewpoint to show how a selective narrowing of identities underpinned the Northern Ireland conflict and how a reconsideration of such selective narratives has underpinned the current peace process. This is a most uplifting and highly readable new work.' - Marianne Elliott, Professor and Director of the Institute for Irish Studies, University of Liverpool, UK 'This book has two great strengths: first, an equal grasp of the internal affairs of Northern Ireland and what is now the Republic of Ireland, and secondly, an equally firm understanding of the ways in which the two Irelands interact with each other. It took two generations for the two entities to realise that they had to live together, and to arrive openly at mechanisms that would achieve this. However, it is tragic that it took over three thousand deaths and an unknown amount of economic growth missed out on because of political instability for this to become clear at a popular level.' - Tom Garvin, Professor Emeritus of Politics in University College Dublin, Ireland 'A Political History of the Two Irelands makes a good starting point for any reflection on the task that lies ahead.' -Kenneth Milne, Church of Ireland Gazette 'Those expecting that Brian Walker's 'political history' will be yet another over well-trodden ground will be both pleasantly and profitably surprised by his account of Ireland's 20th century history...Brian Walker's stimulating political history is the best place to start.' - Kevin Bean, History Today

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About Brian Mercer Walker

Brian Mercer Walker is Professor of Irish Studies, School of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy, Queen's University Belfast, Ireland.

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