The Red Hand: Protestant Paramilitaries in Northern Ireland
Self-proclaimed defenders of Ulster, condemned by their opponents as thugs and murderers, Protestant paramilitaries have been responsible for around half of the civilian casualties in Ulster. Their operations have succeeded on occasion in subverting major political initiatives and have even brought down a government. Yet despite the familiarity of such names as the UDA, the UVF, the Red Hand commando, and the Shankhill Butchers, such groups remain little studied and poorly understood. This book, the first comprehensive study of loyalist terrorism in Ulster, draws on extensive interviews with terrorists conducted by the author, to assemble the most accurate picture possible of their methods and motives. Steve Bruce examines all aspects of their organizations from their origins and background, to the way in which they recruit their members, raise funds, and select and execute their terrorist operations. He also discusses claims that the security forces have at times turned a blind eye to the Protestant paramilitaries' activities. Bruce concludes by arguing that the paradoxical nature of pro-state terrorism - which seeks to maintain, rather than overturn, state power by violent means - informs every significant aspect of the loyalists' activities. In addition to being an important contribution to our understanding of the relationship between terrorism and the modern state, The Red Hand is essential reading for anyone who wishes to gain a fuller understanding of Northern Ireland's present Troubles.
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