The Faithful Tribe: The Loyal Institutions

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9780002558631: The Faithful Tribe: The Loyal Institutions

The first, intimate portrait of the Orange Order.

If there is any more controversial body of men (and, with the exception of Ruth Dudley Edwards, who has been admitted to an honorary position in her very own lodge, they are all men) in the British Isles, it is hard to think who they might be. To most outsiders, grown men parading in bowler hats, white gloves, coloured sashes or collarettes, rolled umbrellas and banners showing scenes from the Old Testament or from a war that ended three centuries ago, are anachronistic, silly and provocative; to their enemies they are triumphalist bigots; to most of their members, the lodges’ parades are a commemoration of the courage of their forefathers, a proud declaration of their belief in civil and religious freedom, a demonstration of their Britishness, a chance to catch up with old friends and a jolly day out.

Ruth Dudley Edwards is an unlikely Joan of Arc for the Orangemen, but that she is; a trusted and liked sympathizer, a woman, a Catholic from southern Ireland; one who sees them as possibly rather bumptious and certainly their own worst enemy, endlessly outpaced by the nimble Republicans in terms of PR (which the Orangemen scorn to meddle with). She will write a fond but not uncritical, indeed rather exasperated, portrait of this strange tribe, with lashings of insider detail and revelation which no one else could hope to obtain. It will be a controversial book but a very saleable one – of fascination not only to Orangemen and their sympathizers but to all those intrigued, horrified or scientifically interested in those egregrious clans.

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From the Back Cover:

Every summer in Drumcree, Derry and Belfast, the Orangemen parade; wearing bowler hats and white gloves and carrying banners with scenes from the Old Testament, they are viewed by outsiders as triumphalist bigots lording it over the minority population and reinforcing their sectarianism. However, to the members of the loyal institutions – Orange Order, Apprentice Boys and Royal Black Preceptory – their marches are a commemoration of the courage of their forefathers, a proud celebration of civil and religious freedom, a demonstration of British loyalty and, most importantly, a chance to catch up with friends. The more the accusations of bigotry and provocation are hurled at them, the more the Ulster Protestants respond with stubborn pride and continue marching, inciting yet further charges of intransigence and insensitivity.

Noted author and historian Ruth Dudley Edwards tells the story for the first time from inside the loyal institutions. Her unprecedented access to meetings and archives and frank interviews with top-ranking officials, as well as her close friendships within the institutions, give her unique insight into the real purpose and prejudices of these organizations, while her Dublin Catholic background provides a critical vantage point from which to observe them. 'No Surrender' presents the untold account of perhaps the most controversial group of men in the United Kingdom.

As the Orangemen's unlikely interpreter, Ruth Dudley Edwards shows that beneath the ceremonial regalia are farmers and labourers, academics and businessmen, some of whom 'speak wistfully of the days when their Catholic neighbours would come out to enjoy the parade'. She examines their history, traditions and symbolism and explains how a steadily declining membership quickly recovered with increases in IRA violence and the signing of the 1986 Anglo-Irish Agreement.

Hopelessly inept at public relations, the Ulster Protestants stand by while their heritage and traditions are traduced around the world. In 'No Surrender', Ruth Dudley Edwards unveils the truth behind the image.

Ruth Dudley Edwards was born and brought up in Dublin. She read history at University College, Dublin, and was a postgraduate student at Girton College, Cambridge. She went on to become a civil servant and, later, a freelance writer. Her non-fiction books include award-winning biographies of Patrick Pearse and Victor Gollancz, an authorized history of the 'Economist' and 'True Brits: Inside the Foreign Office'. She lives in London.

About the Author:

Sometime academic, civil servant, biographer, broadcaster and columnist, Ruth Dudley Edwards is a long-standing author on the HarperCollins Crime list.

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