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When God Took Sides: Religion and Identity in Irish History: Unfinished History

Marianne Elliott
Oxford UP, Oxford
Publication Date: 

"I am very conscious in this book that I will often be privileging the negative and the extreme, and my excuse is that this is because that is how religious identity has played out in Irish history, and the religion of one’s upbringing continues to influence one’s thinking, even if long abandoned. It is diffcult to articulate confusion or to make everyday living, and the acts of neighbourliness it calls for, the stuff of drama, and too often the compelling simplicity of the one-story-fits-all has prevailed. Today the whole of Ireland—even the North—is hard to recognize from that of the 1970s, and there is an understandable wish to move on. I do not subscribe to the trite belief that if you do not understand the past you are compelled to repeat its mistakes. But I have always wanted to know why things are as they are and believe passionately that such knowledge is liberating. It is in this spirit that this book is presented."

- Marianne Elliott, Introduction



Dame Marianne Elliott is an historian, who, in October 2000, was awarded an OBE for services to Irish Studies and the Northern Ireland peace process and in 2002 was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. When God Took Sides is a study of the ways in which religious myths have become entrenched over the centuries and shaped Ireland's historical destiny right through to the 21st century.

© Cover image by permission of Oxford University Press 


Oxford UP, Oxford