Marianne Elliott was born a Catholic in Ulster, and this history of her people--The Catholics of Ulster--will change the world's view of the nationalist Catholics in that province of Northern Ireland. Elliott's revisionist claims are many, and they are large. She denies the proposition that there was any such thing as a Gaelic Catholic race. She argues that Catholic gentry disappeared not because they were exiled and dispossessed by their Protestant neighbors, but because they were converted. She claims that the Penal Laws were not intentionally anti-Catholic. She believes that the English were not substantially to blame for the Potato Famine. And she claims that the IRA has never enjoyed much popular support. These arguments are part of a detailed, comprehensive history of Ireland's tangled Troubles that she makes as clear as one could hope for. Elliott's unwillingness to reduce Ulster's story to any simple opposition between good and bad is unwavering. And her gift for self-criticism, suggested in the book's prologue ("I have discovered in myself lingering prejudices and sensitivities which I either believed I had left far behind or never recognized in the first place"), informs every chapter. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Early in the 1990s, Elliott (modern history, Liverpool Univ.) was invited to work with the Opsahl Commission, a group seeking to advance mutual understanding between belligerent factions in Northern Ireland. This book is her attempt to enhance the peace process through historical understanding. She begins with the pre-Christian era and maintains that conflicts in the geographically isolated Ulster have resulted from political, economic, and cultural differences as well as simply religious ones. Catholicism, she argues, should not be equated with political rebellion against British rule. Nevertheless, she shows that Catholicism in Ulster is caught in a Gaelic cultural trap, which locks it into a 19th-century nationalism. Unfortunately, much of the historical data that fills her book would make sense only to other historians of Ulster (as when she identifies T. Wolfe Tone, the supposed founder of Irish Republican Nationalism, only as "Tone"), and her often general conclusions seem contradictory and therefore confusing. Thus, this book will only interest academics and not the everyday readers she might have wanted to reach. Academic libraries with large collections in Irish history should consider. James A. Overbeck, Atlanta-Fulton P.L.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.