Sunday, December 30, 2007

Leon Uris: Trinity (1976)

Right at the start, let me say it, and then you can read the review keeping this in mind. I simply loved the book. I have read it a few more times since the first time I read it, and one can't help but be moved by the book. Let me cross-relate something I read in a Tom Clancy (Patriot Games). Even though that book is about renegade Irish terrorists, there is some dialogue in the book about the origin of the 'troubles' and how a lot of this was mishandled due to British politics. And then I read Trinity soon after, and this book has done a great deal to explain the issues related to the Irish problem, especially the history.
To an outsider, the conflict in Northern Ireland seems strange, what with it being viewed as a battle between 2 Christian faiths. The source of the conflict and current issues seem hard to comprehend. This problem is further compounded by the fact that in the present, in Northern Ireland, the Protestant population is in a majority, and the Catholics are in a minority, an exact reversal of the population mix in Ireland, which is where the root of the problem originates. A conflict that seems so small to outsiders is actually many centuries old, reaching a peak with the conquest of the Catholic Irish king by the Protestant English kingdom in the 17th century, and the bitter conflicts after that.

Leon Uris: Trinity (1976)
The novel 'Trinity' is focused on a time period between the 1850's and the Irish uprising in 1916. The book is pretty long (over 700 pages), but is extremely gripping and almost forces you to try and read as much as you can over one sitting, and try and finish reading the book first, getting higher priority over other things that you may have to do. However, if you are of English origin and not of Irish origin, you might consider the novel somewhat biased since it presents the outlook from an Irish point of view, with the English not being portrayed in the most positive of light.
The book is the story of the intertwining lives of the Larkins (Catholic hill farmers from the fictional town of Ballyutogue in County Donegal), the Macleods (Protestant shipyard workers from Belfast), and the Hubbles (representatives of three centuries of Anglo-Irish aristocracy).
The novel describes in some depth how the cultural and religious differences between the Protestant and the Catholic communities are exploited so as to drive them further apart, to the extent that any inter-action between the 2 communities is severely prohibited. The depiction of the treatment of a Protestant girl by her own community women, who is involved with a Catholic boy is horrific.
The book moves towards a Irish movement against the English occupation, culminating in a plot against a fort occupied by the English. The book ends in a failure that is converted to a victory; however, the message of despair in the Irish problem is ever present.

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