Rejecting the dominant narratives of the Troubles, this is a unique in-depth investigation into working-class Loyalism in Northern Ireland, as represented by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), the Red Hand Commando (RHC) and their political allies.
In an unorthodox account, that disputes the idea that loyalism was apolitical and sectarian, Tony Novosel argues that loyalist groups, seen as implacable enemies by Republicans and the left, developed a political analysis of the Northern Ireland conflict in the 1970s which involved a compromise peace with all political parties and warring factions - something that historians and writers have largely ignored.
Distinctive, deeply informed and provocative, Northern Ireland's Lost Opportunity is the first study to focus not on the violent actions of the UVF/RHC but on their political vision and programme which, Novosel argues, undeniably contributed to the Conflict Transformation Process, by upholding the potential for a viable peace based on compromise with all groups, including the Irish Republican Army.
"'A significant contribution. Exposes the limitation of commonly held views that loyalism was apolitical and merely sectarian'" - Professor Peter Shirlow, School of Law, Queen's University Belfast
"'Novosel's study of the UVF and its attempts to develop a politicised loyalism challenges the standard one-dimensional representation of loyalism that so dominates the media and popular imagination'" - Graham Spencer, author of The State of Loyalism in Northern Ireland
"'Integral to an understanding of the Conflict Transformation Process which has made Northern Ireland a beacon of hope, and adds a vital component to the complex narrative of our recent history'" - John Kyle, Belfast city councillor
"'Novosel effectively challenges common perceptions. He demonstrates that some Loyalists offered hope when hope was most needed but faced constant obstruction by those challenged by their 'new thinking'" - Roy Garland, Irish News
Abbreviations Glossary Of Terms Acknowledgements Preface And Overview Introduction 1 The Ulster Volunteer Force And O'Neill 2 Manipulation, Acquiescence And Awakening 3 The Prison Experience And Loyalist Politics 4 The Emerging Light: Political Loyalism, 1973-1975 5 Darkness At The End Of The Tunnel: The Failure Of Politics 6 The Light In The Darkness: Political Loyalism, 1975-1977 7 Sharing Responsibility: 1977-1987 Conclusion Bibliography Index