The Faithful Tribe: An Intimate Portrait of the Loyal Institutions

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9780006388906: The Faithful Tribe: An Intimate Portrait of 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 has written a fond but not uncritical, indeed rather exasperated, portrait of this tribe, with lashings of insider detail and revelation which no one else could hope to obtain.

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Product Description:

The first, intimate portrait of the Orange Order.

From the Back Cover:

'No outsider has travelled into the heart of Orangeism with a mind so open and ears so attentive as Ruth Dudley Edwards…In the course of her quite amazing journey, this Dublin middle-class academic of Catholic background, has absorbed and revelled in the culture of what she would call true Orangeism. With a combination of vivid contemporary journalism and deep historical scholarship, she has managed to portray Orangeism's beating heart – through its turbulent and bloody history and its monumental afternoon teas'
KEVIN MYERS 'Sunday Telegraph'

'The depth of [Dudley Edwards] learning and the breadth of her sympathy, make this a compelling book, the product of genuine free thinking and spare, fine writing. Few books published this year will have the charm, learning, wisdom and humanity of 'The Faithful Tribe'
MICHAEL GROVE 'The Times'

'Ruth Dudley Edwards' portrait of the loyal institutions – the Orange Order, Apprentice Boys and Royal Black Preceptory – is engrossing and illuminating…her account should convince the open-minded that they have far greater virtues and a stronger case than is normally recognised.'
STEPHEN HOWE 'New Statesman'

'An important and timely book. It should be required reading for those who pontificate on Drumcree. It will probably be assailed on both sides, which in Northern Ireland amounts to something of a critical success'
MAURICE HAYES 'Irish Independent'

'Dr Edwards has ensured that even if readers don't agree with the Orangemen's stand, at least they may better understand it'
PETER TAYLOR

'Dudley Edwards has got closer to the Orange Order than any outsider'
OBSERVER

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