THE PRICE OF MY SOUL by Bernadette Devlin


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It's not everyone who can dash off a significant political and personal testament at the age of twenty-two. The song of spunky Bernadette, youngest Member of Parliament since William Pitt, is a refreshingly honest evocation of ""the real flesh-and-blood Bernadette Devlin"" (none of those Joan of Arc and Cassandra labels, please) and her pronounced opinions on Northern Ireland's economic, social, and political problems which have propelled her to staid old Westminster, the Bogside barricades, and international renown. To Miss Devlin, the Ulster upheavals represent neither religious warfare nor old-style Republicanism, but a genuine class struggle against economic slavery and social injustice. She relates her family background (daughter of a road sweeper's son and a rebellious but ""despairingly Christian"" mother from the right side of the tracks), her growing political awareness as a student at the militantly Republican St. Patrick's Academy under the 101% Irish Mother Benignus, and her evolution as a university civil rights leader from a position of liberal discontent to firm socialist conviction under fire on the celebrated Long March to Derry. Along with lively political analyses and forecasts, there's a little of the lighter side of being ""the greatest publicity gimmick since Kraft cheese slices"": attendant journalists sitting at the next table in restaurants writing down what she eats, invitations to open ecumenical meetings in New Zealand, proposals from men wishing to team up their beauty with her brains, and initiation into a South Down witches' coven for being so ""beautifully evil."" Miss Devlin fears she may be letting down her constituents since her fiery Maiden Speech, but Parliamentary debate is not her way of getting things done.

Pub Date: Nov. 3rd, 1969
Publisher: Knopf