There can be few European communities more soaked in their history than the Catholics of Ulster. Ulster has always been geographically a land somewhat apart from the rest of Ireland, and its harsh history has given both the Catholic and Protestant communities a unique stamp. Both communities' understanding of their past remains central to their identities, but the layers of myths, lies and half-truths which make up these understandings have had ruinous effects. In this long-anticipated book, Marianne Elliott has succeeded in at last creating a coherent, credible and absorbing history of the Ulster Catholics - from their early mediaeval origins to the devolution of 1999. In the process many myths are destroyed, but a picture also emerges of a history which, while in many senses quite different from the received wisdom, is none the less, with the arrival of the English and Scots, an extremely brutal one. At a remarkable point in Ulster's history, this book will be at the focus of a great deal of debate.