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Northern Ireland's Lost Opportunity: The Frustrated Promise of Political Loyalism Paperback – 7 Jan 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press (7 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745333095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745333090
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 102,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

A significant contribution. Novosel exposes the limitation of commonly held views that loyalism was apolitical and merely sectarian. (Professor Peter Shirlow, School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast)

Novosel's study of the UVF and its attempts to develop a politicised loyalism challenges the standard one-dimensional representation of loyalism that so dominates the media and popular imagination. (Graham Spencer, Reader in Politics, Conflict and the Media at the University of Portsmouth, UK and author of The State of Loyalism in Northern Ireland.)

This thoroughly researched book is integral to an understanding of the Conflict Transformation Process which has made Northern Ireland a beacon of hope, and adds a vital component to the complex narrative of our recent history. (Dr John Kyle, Progressive Unionist Party, Belfast City Councillor)

Novosel effectively challenges common perceptions. He demonstrates that some Loyalists offered hope when hope was most needed but faced constant obstruction by those challenged by their 'new thinking'. (Roy Garland, Irish News)

About the Author

Tony Novosel is a senior lecturer in History at the University of Pittsburgh. He is involved in 'common history' projects in Belfast.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steve Williamson on 7 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
This really is a book for anyone with an interest in N.Irish politics.

There are a wealth of valuable insights on offer into the history of loyalism and the working class Protestant community as it developed through the Troubles and the Peace Process. Real in depth research by the author brings to light a revealing portrait of key individuals within the ranks of the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Red Hand Commando and of the political analysis they developed.

How their vision came to be one of peaceful compromise with opponents including the Irish Republican Army is a largely untold part of N. Ireland history. That this new thinking by leaders such as Gusty Spence and David Ervine helped bring N. Ireland out of the Troubles, through the ceasefires and into the modern era, even whilst being opposed within their own ranks is an inspiring tale of light in the midst of a dark past.

This isn't another dry political book on N.Ireland's gloomy past.
It's a very well written account that reads easily and keeps you turning the pages.
Highly recommended.

"In seeking to conduct our political and religious battles primarily by violent means we have been defeating ourselves internally. Political and sectarian violence is wholly inconsistent with the goals of freedom in society, the value of human life and the dignity of the individual. In seeking to make our Provence safe for democracy, we are, at the same time surrendering those things which make democracy worthwhile... Violence is an ugly mob madness that crucifies the truth-tellers, chokes the artistes and sidetracks reforms... Can we not take the time to consider that violence is not the mid-wife of freedom but its assassin?" ~ Gusty Spence 1975.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gladys Ganiel on 23 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback
Northern Ireland's Lost Opportunity: The Frustrated Promise of Political Loyalism, is a book that has received surprisingly little attention since it was published this year (Pluto Press, 2013). Written by American Tony Novosel, a lecturer in History at the University of Pittsburgh, it is a clearly-written and provocative examination of loyalist political development from the mid-1960s.

It is also a timely book, given that loyalism has been `in the news' lately for all the wrong reasons: the flag protests and the violence during the marching season, most notably this year's Twelfth. Speaking last week at the Merriman Summer School, I said that these events have begun to lead to an unhelpful `Loyalists are The Problem' narrative.

Northern Ireland's Lost Opportunity is something of an antidote to the `Loyalists are the Problem' narrative, presenting what for many will be new perspectives on loyalists and their (admittedly often thwarted) efforts towards conflict transformation throughout the Troubles.

What's most provocative about the book is Novosel's argument that loyalist political thinkers were far ahead of their republican counterparts in the early days of the Troubles, but their efforts for conflict transformation were deliberately stymied by elements within Unionism and British intelligence.

For Novosel, the demise (though it was not complete) of loyalist political thinking was a `lost opportunity' for Northern Ireland. The consequences of this lost opportunity resonate to the present day, resulting in loyalist communities that feel threatened and disempowered.

Novosel argues that examples of progressive and constructive loyalist political thinking have been largely forgotten or even suppressed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By WG on 6 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
Northern Ireland's Lost Opportunity:
The Frustrated Promise of Political Loyalism
Tony Novosel (Pluto Press February 2012).

Tony Novosel makes an important contribution to the story of progressive Loyalism in Northern Ireland. Whatever the eventual outcome of the present protests over flags his work will stand.

I lived through and observed these events at first hand. I have also experienced a deep humanity among Ulster Volunteer Force leaders. Because of this I feel a strong sense of gratitude to Tony Novosel. Tony came to Northern Ireland with no previous links to the place and sharing many of the widespread misconceptions. But he had an open mind and was prepared to look beyond the violence and antagonism that has beset the people of Northern Ireland for too long.

His work illustrates how in the midst of vicious IRA onslaughts and cries of "traitor" from within a Unionism they once had tried to serve, senior Loyalists took courage in their hands and opened a door to new possibilities. They knew that violence could never be the answer. They had been to the edge of the abyss before setting out to find a better way, a negotiated and democratic way, for everyone.

As in Nazi Germany there were always the few who stood out against the tide. In Ulster they helped redeem the name of unionism by seeking a just and honourable peace with Catholic and nationalist neighbours. They were nonentities in the eyes of the establishment but Gusty Spence, Billy Mitchell, David Ervine and others too numerous to mention, had seen the vision. They acted on this vision to make change possible.
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