The Widening Gulf
The Widening Gulf, Blackstaff Press. 1988. Based on academic research done in Dublin in the early 1980s - leading to the award of a PhD by Trinity College in 1985 - this book was widely praised as an original and significant contribution to the understanding of the wide, and still widening, gulf which divided unionism and nationalism on the island of Ireland, and which was, by 1988, exacting a mounting death toll after two decades of terrorist violence and communal killings.
As its subtitle, Northern Attitudes to the Independent Irish State 1919-1949, indicates, the book was not concerned with the immediate crisis, but with the fundamental divide and its widening and deepening over the period 1919 to 1949, a period which saw first the triumph of physical force republicanism within nationalism, the founding of the Irish state through armed struggle, and the redefinition of Irishness as embodied in the institutions, laws and social practices of the independent Irish state.
The book is an exploration and analysis of how those events were perceived by northern Unionists, and how that perception was a significant factor in the evolution of politics within Northern Ireland.
'The most important book published (on the Northern Ireland issue) in a decade and a half...' Bew, Gibbon and Patterson in Northern Ireland, 1921-94, Serif, London 1995.
'A distinctive achievement...' Alvin Jackson.
'A most illuminating work...' A T Q Stewart.