No outsider has travelled into the heart of Orangeism with a mind so open and ears so attentive as Ruth Dudley Edwards… In the course of her quite amazing journey, this Dublin middle-class academic of Catholic background, has absorbed and revelled in the culture of what she could call true Orangeism. With a combination of vivid contemporary journalism and deep historical scholarship, she has managed to portray Orangeism’s beating heart – through its turbulent and bloody history and its monumental afternoon teas.
Ruth Dudley Edwards’s portrait of the loyal institutions – the Orange Order, Apprentice Boys and Royal Black Preceptory – is engrossing and illuminating… Her account should convince the open-minded that they have far greater virtues and a stronger case than is normally recognised.
The depth of [Dudley Edward’s’s] learning and breadth of her sympathy, make this a compelling book, the product of genuine free thinking and spare, fine writing. Few books published this year will have the charm, learning, wisdom and humanity of The Faithful Tribe.
An important and timely book. It should be required reading for those who pontificate on Drumcree. It will probably be assailed on both sides, which in Northern Ireland amounts to something of a critical success.
Dr Edwards has ensured that even if readers don’t agree with the Orangemen’s stand, at least they may better understand it.