Roy Garland has done an excellent job of constructing a detailed history of Gusty Spence, an early member of the Protestant paramilitary group Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF). The book is a quick read, due largely to all the first person accounts given by Gusty himself.
The author's book recounts in detail Gusty's motivation for joining the UVF, his many long years in Crumlin Prison and The Maze, and his ultimate path to peace, signified by his resignation from the UVF. One cannot help but have respect for the character of Gusty Spence and the principles he adhered to even while under decades of enormous pressure from the British and Northern Ireland governments.
However, the author is a personal friend of Gusty and has done everything he can to put him in a positive light as a man wrongly imprisoned, who respected and was open to discussion with his sworn enemies -the IRA- and finally committed himself to the peace process. On the other hand, the reader should remember that Gusty was a dedicated supporter of an organization that spawned the Shankill Butchers, a murderous gang of UVF thugs who tortured and mutilated innocent Catholic victims. Gusty never denounces these terrible atrocities and the author shamefully tries to downplay the number of innocent Catholic victims claimed by the UVF which are a matter of historical record.
Overall, a very good book on Gusty Spence and a must read for understanding the conflict in Northern Ireland, but the reader must understand the author's background as a Loyalist Protestant, which has allowed some biases to seep in.