For nearly thirty years Northern Ireland has been a by-word for terrorism, bloodshed, military coercion and intense communal conflict. However, Ireland is now experiencing a transition from a society in conflict to one at peace.
Where did the violence come from and why could it not be pacified? Why has it taken thirty years to solve the Northern Irish conflict, and why did early attempts at settlement fail?
Jeremy Smith explores these questions by placing the events in context with wider British and European patterns, giving the first in-depth study of the history of the peace process in Northern Ireland.