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The Catholics of Ulster Hardcover – 30 Mar 2001

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (30 Mar. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 046501903X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465019038
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 16.6 x 5.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 183,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Marianne Elliott is Professor of Modern History and Director of the Institute of Irish Studies at Liverpool University. She is the author of an acclaimed biography of Wolfe Tone, which won the Irish Times/Aer Lingus nonfiction award. She lives in Liverpool. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
Prehistoric man arrived in Ulster around 7000 BC and settled along the sea and lake shores, in the valley of the Bann, around Lough Neagh and the Antrim coast, later extending to Strangford Lough and the Inishowen peninsula. Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Déaglán Ó Loinsigh on 19 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brimming with information previously unknown to me and not covered in many other histories. I would definitely recommend it. The main basis for her writing it, as I understand, is that the Ulster Catholic community is not sufficiently discussed in histories of Irish catholics or histories of Ulster; that the Ulster Catholic community has had a different historical experience which has been substantially different from that of Catholics in the rest of Ireland, and yet strangely removed from that of the rest of Ulster's populous.

Elliott describes how, at times, Ulster Catholics' socio-economic state and interests was more akin to that of their Catholic cousins throughout Ireland, and at other times it mirrored the concerns of their Protestant neighbours at home in Ulster. Their experience has been similar to and connected with both Ulster Protestants and Southern Catholics (whatever tacid interactions the community has had with Southern Protestants is not delved into in any great detail) but distinct from both.

She paints a more complete and detailed, and thus a neccessarily greatly more complex picture of the history of the community. She attempts to ascertain exactly how monolithic the community is - seemingly not very; the working-class Catholics of Belfast don't share the same historical experiences as do those of majority-Catholic, rural, western and southern parts of the province, who, in turn, differ strickingly from those Catholics living in religiously mixed or even predominantly Protesant communities in eastern, central and northern Ulster. The rise of the middles class within the Catholic community since the mid-nineteenth century has created yet another line of distinction.

In The Catholics of Ulster Elliot goes back to basics.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mahogany Gaspipes on 15 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback
Marianne Elliott has written the authoratative account of Catholicism in Ulster, from its earliest roots to the recent past. A scholarly and definitive work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Beyond Centuries of Propaganda Wars 18 April 2001
By Linda Mason Merle - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As a family historian, I have spent a lot of time reading history in an attempt to understand what my ancestors experienced in Ulster. Some of them were Irish Catholics, some probably Scots Catholics who immigrated with the McDonalds, and they eventually became Ulster Presbyterians. But within the Presbyterian communities of the late 1700's, early 1800's were a lot of Irish surnames. How did this happen?
This book unmasks the truth behind both "Protestant" and Nationalist propagandized histories. Many of Elliott's conclusions are born out by my own family research.
If you want to read propaganda, then you can find plenty of it out there, but if you want to look beyond received history and into a past that is very different from what is commonly held, then this is the book for you.
It is probably not the first book to buy if you are new to the history of Ulster and /or Northern Ireland because it assumes you know the basics or received version of history and it is a response to it.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Invaluable - but not unbiased 2 Aug. 2004
By A reader from Houston, TX - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book should be required reading for everyone who purports to have an opinion on the causes and the solution to the Ulster conflict. The book is very much a revisionist history: Prof. Elliott's main thesis is that Ulster Catholics were not persecuted as severely as their mythology would indicate. She also shows how the actions of the Catholic Church over the past 150 years have had a negative influence on how Catholics perceive themselves. The two great strengths of the book are that it tells a coherent, though complex, story and that this story is substantiated by copious endnotes citing the sources. However, the book is not entirely objective. Furthermore, the subtle biases will be difficult to spot by anyone not already familiar with Ulster. Having been born there, I'm fairly well acquainted with Ulster history and politics. Three examples:

1) Some historical incidents of persecution are not mentioned at all, or are simply de-emphasized e.g. the savagery of the Cromwellian forces after the siege of Drogheda (1649). Thus supporting the thesis that Catholic grievances are exaggerated.

2) On p. 225 Prof. Elliott says that `...Catholics felt that they could expect little from the law. At least that is what the United Irish propaganda machine now told them...' suggesting that Catholics were being misled by those elements who favored revolt against England. But on p. 224 she states that juries consistently favored Protestant vigilantes over Catholics, so evidently this part of the Ulster Catholic myth was not without foundation.

3) One of the most notorious incidents of brutality perpetrated by Catholics during the Troubles, the barbaric murder of two British soldiers by a Catholic mob, is illustrated by a large photograph. Thus, (over) emphasizing the author's contention that Ulster Catholics are not simply victims. On the other hand, the depredations of the infamous Shankill Butchers, who were Protestant and viciously murdered 19 people, are not mentioned at all.

Despite its shortcomings, this book is an invaluable addition to the literature on Ulster and I highly recommend it.
A Terrible Saga Unfolds 17 Mar. 2014
By RVG - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Elliot has done a masterful job of detailing the sorry history of the Catholics of Ulster. And the story is not yet completed. After a short review of the ancient history of the region, readers are carried through the ages of hyperactive discrimination by the British and the Protestants. The book is well balanced and avoids the potential for hyperbole. I was amazed at the number of "studies" conducted by organizations trying to figure out the truth and reasons behind this history and the media versions thereof. For a student of Ireland's tattered history, this book is a must read but beware, you will need disciplined patience to work your way through this.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Remarkably thorough history of a troubled province 19 Nov. 2002
By Paul J. Ditz - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Marianne Elliot compiles an unique and thorough history of Catholocism in Ireland's most troubled province of Ulster. The information contained in this book is invaluable for anyone attempting to trace the roots of the current troubles in Northern Ireland, or with any serious interest in the history of this troubled island. This book is not for the casual reader, as Elliot's dry academic style could grow wearisome for those looking for a light, enjoyable read.
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