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The Border


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The history and possible future of the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland.

About the Author

Diarmaid Ferriter is one of Ireland's best-known historians and is Professor of Modern Irish History at UCD. He is a regular broadcaster on television and radio and a weekly columnist with the Irish Times. In 2010 he presented a three-part history of twentieth century Ireland, The Limits of Liberty, on RTE television.


Clear-eyed ... It isn't often that writing on Brexit and Ireland is so uniformly unsparing and devoid of lazy moralism. This is a rare pleasure ... Anyone who wishes to understand why Brexit is so intractable should read this book. I can think of several MPs who ought to. -- Patrick Maguire * Times *
A clear and concise history ... Ferriter's judicious book shows that Brexiters' recklessness, such "contemptuous arrogance", is nothing new, and that it has always been the ordinary people of Northern Ireland who have paid its price. They deserve better. -- Christopher Kissane * Guardian *
A wide-ranging history of Irish partition ... skilfully condenses a vast amount of research into a coherent narrative packed with striking quotes and acerbic commentaries ... erudite and insightful -- Andrew Lynch * Irish Independent *
A timely historical essay * Economist *
The Border is an invaluable new addition to the growing canon of Border literature... a very readable book ... it has a chronological precision one expects from a historian, yet its pacy and concise narrative runs to just 144 pages and takes readers up to last week's headlines. One can't help wondering if it has the immediacy of a background executive summary for the next round of on-off Brexit negotiations. -- Darach MacDonald * Irish Times *
Richly detailed ... Ferriter is scrupulous in striving for historical objectivity -- Andrew Anthony * Observer *
Ferriter is particularly interesting on the origins and early history of the border... his timely book explains all this and more, deftly interweaving history and current affairs. -- Cormac O Grada * BBC History Magazine *
The Border could hardly be more timely ... Ferriter is particularly lively on the delusion of hardline Brexiteers ... and equally strong on the implications of a return to a hard border ... the most that can be hoped for now is a taking up of the lessons of history, as Ferriter concludes. This book provides a small step, at least, in that direction. -- Catherine Healy * Sunday Business Post *
A rat-a-tat of history, forensic in detail, sober and sobering, its timely publication a riposte to all the blather and bluster written and spoken in recent times about Brexit and backstops and borders. -- Donal O'Donaghue * RTE Guide *
Ferriter ends with the hope that the oppressive weight of a century of Anglo-Irish history can be lifted ... Reading this book would be a good starting point for all concerned [with Brexit]. -- Colm Larkin, adviser to Northern Ireland's deputy first minister, 1998- 2001 * FT *

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