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This volume challanges the received wisdom about why Northern Ireland descended into internecine strife. Focusing on the period from 1968 to the present, it argues that the Troubles were not the result of an upsurge in primitive hatred, nor a reversion to tribal loyalties. The conflict in Northern Ireland had a peculiarly modern character, the distinctive features of which are observable elsewhere around the globe. Through an exploration of the dynamics of war and peace in Northern Ireland, this book sets out to uncover the true significance of the principles of modern politics--democracy and imperialism--and to chart the dangers which accompany their misapplication in political conflicts which threaten the world.