From the Plantation of Ulster in the seventeenth century to the entry into peace talks in the late twentieth century the Northern Irish people have been engaged in conflict - Catholic against Protestant, Republican against Unionist.
The traumas of violence in the Northern Ireland Troubles have cast a long shadow.
For many years, this appeared to be an intractable conflict with no pathway out.
Mass mobilisations of people and dramatic political crises punctuated aseemingly endless succession of bloodshed.
When in the 1990s and early 21st century, peace was painfully built, it brought together unlikely rivals, making Northern Ireland a model for conflict resolution internationally.
But disagreement about the future of the province remains, and for the first time in decades one can now seriously speak of a democratic end to the Union between Northern Ireland and Great Britain as a foreseeable possibility.
The Northern Ireland problem remains a fundamental issue as the United Kingdom recasts its relationship with Europe and the world.
In this completely revised edition of his Very Short Introduction Marc Mulholland explores the pivotal moments in Northern Irishhistory - the rise of republicanism in the 1800s, Home Rule and the civil rights movement, the growth of Sinn Fein and the provisional IRA, and the DUP, before bringing the story up to date, drawing on newly available memoirs by paramilitary militants to offer previously unexplored perspectives, as well asrecent work on Nothern Irish gender relations.
Mulholland also includes a new chapter on the state of affairs in 21st Century Northern Ireland, considering the question of Irish unity in the light of both Brexit and the approaching anniversary of the 1921 partition, and drawing new lessons for the future. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area.
These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.
Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.