VOICES OF NORTHERN IRELAND: Growing Up in a Troubled Land by Carolyn Meyer

VOICES OF NORTHERN IRELAND: Growing Up in a Troubled Land

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A common saying in Belfast: ""If you think you're not confused, you just don't know what's going on."" This book is the fruit of six weeks Meyer spent in Northern Ireland trying to find out ""what's going on."" As in her Voices of South Africa, she speaks with adults and small groups of teenagers, describing their lives and looking for some insight into what's important to them. Readers will be left with a bleak impression. Northern Ireland's social conflicts are deeply rooted in history, and also nourished by a depressed economy and an innate fear of change; several of the young people interviewed expect to spend their lives on welfare and have little in the way of dreams or goals. The author reports on some programs designed to promote reconciliation, but concludes that their success will be mixed as long as people emphasize what they lose in a compromise rather than what they gain. Exploration of attitudes is what makes both this and Voices of South Africa outstanding. Meyer is not interested in simplifying complex issues; though she makes no secret of her own opinions, she never tries to force them on readers or to provide glib solutions. In her travels she meets some very special people dedicated to peace and finds in their lives a ray of hope, however dim. A lively, thought-provoking study.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1987
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich