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The Irish revolution of 1916-23 is generally regarded as a success. It was a disastrous failure, however, for the Catholic and nationalist minority in what became Northern Ireland. It resulted in partition, a discriminatory majoritarian regime and, more recently, a generation of renewed violence and a decade of political impasse. It is often suggested that the blame for this outcome rests not only on 'perfidious Albion' and the 'bigotry' of Ulster Unionism but also on the constitutional nationalist leaders, John Redmond, John Dillon and Joe Devlin. This book argues that, on the contrary, the era of violence provoked by Sinn Fein's 1918 general election victory was the primary cause of partition so far as actions on the nationalist side were concerned. Hepburn also suggests that the exclusively Catholic Ancient Order of Hibernians was in fact less sectarian than Sinn Fein, and that Devlin's practical contribution to the improvement of working-class conditions was more substantial than that of his republican socialist contemporaries. Too much Irish history has been written from the standpoint of the winners. This book, as well as detailing the life of an important but neglected individual in the context of a social history of Catholic Belfast, offers a general re-interpretation of Irish political history between the 1890s and the 1930s from the perspective of the losers.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780199298846
ISBN-10: 019929884X
Format: Hardback
(240mm x 162mm x 23mm)
Pages: 336
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 17-Jul-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


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Author Biography - A.C. Hepburn

A.C. Hepburn is Professor of Modern Irish History at the University of Sunderland, where he was Director of the School of Humanities & Social Sciences, 1996-2002. He previously held academic posts at the University of Ulster, Queen's University Belfast, and the University of Tennessee. His previous books include Contested Cities in the Modern West.