As one of Northern Ireland's most prominent nationalist politicians, Seamus Mallon (1936-2020) always sought the genuine reconciliation of conflicting traditions using only peaceful means.
This is his personal testament. In A Shared Home Place, Mallon evokes his happy childhood in the Protestant heartland of Markethill, south Armagh, and dwells on the turbulent years of constitutional politics in the maelstrom of near-civil war during the 1970s and 1980s.
He was thetarget of both loyalist violence and republican vilification, and his harrowing descriptions of tit-for-tat brutality in Northern Ireland's most bloody region outside Belfast bear poignant witness to the tragedy of hatred between neighbours. Mallon complemented John Hume in laying the foundations of the peace process and gives fascinating insights into what took place behind the scenes of negotiation that led to the Good Friday Agreement.
As his final political act, Mallon reflects upon this hard- won deal with the Ulster Unionists and calls for a new beginning - a shared home place in which Irish unity can only be achieved through parallel consent.
This timely memoir encompasses the social and political history of Northern Ireland, and offers hope for its future.