This is the new book by Prof. Tony Novosel who is a senior lecturer in History at the University of Pittsburgh. I’ve only read the first couple of chapters but it is already obvious that this book will become a pacesetter for future research on loyalism, and particularly the political and military development of the UVF and Red Hand Commando.
Novosel challenges the tired perception that those loyalists who ended up in jail spent their time in the gym while the ‘bookish’ republican prisoners spent their sentences studying. He argues that political loyalism had a march on the rise of Sinn Fein only for its champions (such as Gusty Spence) to find themselves frustrated by a combination of the sectarian imperatives of the ‘hawks’ in the UVF who demanded a ‘big push’ in 1975; and an already fragmented Protestant political landscape following the implementation of Direct Rule and attempts at forming a power-sharing government.
Novosel is a regular visitor to Northern Ireland and his book is based on tireless primary research, in-depth interviews with the key protagonists and searching analyses.