This book fills one of the most significant gaps in modern British historiography. Despite its public profile, the Orange Order has not attracted commensurate scholarly attention. Uncritical apologists apart, historians have displayed condescending censure, stigmatising and dismissing the Order as sectarian – a term unduly restricted in their studies to violence and demonstrations. Having gained unique access to lodge membership records, MacRaild provides a timely corrective. MacRaild makes excellent use of archive material to provide a fascinating study of ‘diasporic’ Orangeism, showing how it was imported into mainland Britain and implanted within working-class communities as a ‘way of life’, able to attract adherents with no obvious Irish provenance or connection (the Toxteth lodge in North West England has a not insignificant black presence.) Impeccably researched and expertly written, Faith, Fraternity and Fighting is a major achievement and an important step in rescuing Orangeism from the stigma of sectariansim
Donald MacRaild is Professor of British and Irish History at the University of Ulster.
July 1, 2005