on 11 March 2014
A great deal of research appears to have gone into this book (not surprisingly, since it is based on the author's Ph.D. thesis). However, the presentation of this research is heavily coloured by the author's pro-unionist bias. The views of republican writers are invariably dismissed as "incoherent", "lazy-minded", "self-deluded", "preposterous", etc. By contrast, the views of right wing writers are enthusiastically endorsed at every opportunity. James Hogan, for example, who supported fascism in Ireland in the 1930's, is praised for his "sophisticated attack on the republican left". In another of his books Richard English quotes with apparent approval Eric Hobsbawm's opinion that the historian's major task "is not to judge but to understand even what we can least comprehend". It is a pity that English did not take this advice to heart when he wrote this book.