The Troubles may have developed into a sectarian conflict, but the violence was sparked by a small band of leftists who wanted Derry in October 1968 to be a repeat of Paris in May of the same year. Like their French comrades, Northern Ireland’s ‘sixty-eighters’ had assumed that street fighting would lead to political struggle. The struggle that followed, however, was between communities rather than classes. In the divided society of Northern Ireland, the interaction of the global and the local, that was the hallmark of 1968, had tragic consequences.
Drawing on a wealth of new sources and scholarship, Simon Prince offers a fresh and compelling interpretation of the civil rights movement of 1968 and the origins of the Troubles. The authoritative and enthralling narrative weaves together accounts of high politics and grassroots protests, mass movements and individuals, and international trends and historic divisions, to show how events in Northern Ireland and around the world were interconnected during the long ’68.
This new edition features a preface reflecting on how the start of the Troubles has been commemorated and on the role of historians in dealing with the past process.