Madam – Your reviewer's diatribe about my book, Lone Crusader: David Thornley and the Intellectuals, employs the time-honoured device of selective quotation to try to bolster his argument.
He sneers at David for referring to himself at one stage as "a historian of some repute". David was merely stating his qualifications for saying what he was about to say.
Your reviewer writes: "The Good Friday Agreement after all signalled the end of Thornley's brand of Surrey-infused nationalism". It did nothing of the sort. It put an end to the well-meaning futility of the Sunningdale Agreement approach arranged over tea and cakes with Mrs Thatcher, entailing the total exclusion of the paramilitaries on both sides.
That agreement was intended to secure what Neville Chamberlain, in a different era, had called "Peace in our time"; it fell apart in nine months.
David was not a Provo, or even a Provo-sympathiser, but he felt that the only hope was, in his words, which I quote in my book, that "The lines of communication be kept open". It might then be possible ultimately to reach a modus vivendi between total opposites.
This is exactly what happened ultimately in the Good Friday Agreement. For correctly charting the way forward and in effect predicting the future David is pilloried by your reviewer and my book is rubbished.
I deeply resent the almost xenophobic slur on David implied in the expression "Surrey-infused". It is not even based on fact. David left Surrey, and England, before the age of nine.
Your reviewer clearly enjoys quoting philosophers. May I quote Hegal? "Nations and governments have never learned anything from history".
Sandymount, Dublin 4