How did David Trimble, the ‘bête noire’ of Irish nationalism and ‘bien pensant’ opinion, transform himself into a peacemaker? How did this unfashionable, ‘petit bourgeois’ Orangeman come to win a standing ovation at the Labour Party conference? How, indeed, did this taciturn academic with few real intimates succeed in becoming the leader of the least intellectual party in the United Kingdom, the Ulster Unionists? And how did he carry them with him, against the odds, to make an ‘historic compromise’ with Irish nationalism?
These are just a few of the key questions about David Trimble, one of the unlikeliest and most complicated leaders of our times. Both his admirers and his detractors within the unionist family are, however, agreed on one thing: the Good Friday agreement could not have been done without him. Only he had the skills and the command of the issues to negotiate a saleable deal, and only he possessed the political credibility within the broader unionist community to lend that agreement legitimacy once it had been made.
David Trimble’s achievements are extraordinary, and Dean Godson, chief leader writer of the ‘Daily Telegraph’, was granted exclusive and complete access while writing this book.
Reviews of Himself Alone
‘A great act of political reporting – instant history, if you like – about the drama of Northern Ireland’s search for peace.’ Andrew Marr, Daily Telegraph
‘This is a perceptive, deeply informed account of the entire peace process…Well written, fair and full of insights, it is destined to become part of the history it relates.’ Alan Judd, Sunday Telegraph
‘This is much more than a biography: it is a moment-by-moment guide through history, a book that will become a key reference point in years to come, and is surprisingly entertaining now.’ Alan Ruddock, Sunday Times
‘A comprehensive and essential history.’ Henry Patterson, Spectator
‘Absorbing…A fascinating portrait of Trimble.’ Neasa MacErlean, Observer
‘Masterly…impressive…dispassionate…Not only is this book the definitive account of the modern history of Northern Ireland, it is also as good a guide to its embattled inhabitants as one could wish.’ Daily Mail
‘Dean Godson’s meticulously researched biography offers an authoritative guide to the province’s painful path to peace. It is a feast of eavesdropped political conversations.’ New Statesman