Making Sense of the TroublesBy David McKitterick & David McVea.
One of the authors is a an experienced journalist and the other is a historian. Both men are Belfast Protestants married to Catholics. Good standing to deliver a thoroughly well balanced account of the last century of Northern Ireland and the monumentally tragic waste of life in the last forty years of that century.
This is a highly readable and fascinating history of the good, the bad, the inspirational, and the very fucking dangerous players in what from the late 1960's became known as 'The Troubles'. The writers give a great introductory chapter to the history of Unionism and how the divide between Protestants and Catholics snowballed. The statesmanship and diplomacy (both the best of and the jaw-droppingly worst of) of all the main players involved is intriguing and the shift in dynamics between the British Government, The Rep. Of Ireland Government, the British intelligence services, the Northern Irish political parties, the church, and the paramilitaries is riveting.
Although a political history McKitterick and McVea don't shirk from emotion in detailing the horror of and total waste of life suffered on every side of the story including British military personnel and the innocent men, women, and children of Northern Ireland. There are heroes, progressives, total lunatics, and true statesmen in this book as well as astonishingly brave everyday individuals. An excellent book, one which has been thoroughly researched and fairly unique in that the men who wrote it lived through the subject matter.