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The Price of my Soul

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  259 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Bernadette Devlin's book tells two stories:

The story of 'the real flesh-and-blood Bernadette'
'If you eat up all the bread at teatime, there won't be anything for breakfast...'
She tells the story of personal 'bottom-level' poverty, of her combined struggle to go to university and to look after her orphaned brothers and sisters...of how she became involved in Civil Rights, a
Hardcover, First Edition (U.K.), 206 pages
Published November 1st 1969 by Andre Deutsch Ltd. (first published June 1969)
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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Diane Maggie
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a book I have read twice. Once when I was very young and very pro-IRA. And then later when I was mature enough to put aside an ingrained hatred of the British. Both times I was fascinated. The Charlestown I grew up in had "Bobby Sands" graffiti. There was money collected for NORAID. So I was very indignant on Devlin's behalf. My grandmother's father was killed 60 or 70 years before for violating a curfew. The second time I was better informed about what an abomination the IRA was and I s ...more
Melinda Warner
Mar 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"To gain that which is worth having, it may be be necessary to lose everything else." - Bernadette Devlin

My all-time favorite quote, from this incredible woman.
Devlin writes an explanation of what made her into the person she became, up to the time of publication in 1969. It's a fascinating exploration of the forces at work in Northern Ireland in the 1960s. Writing as both a student activist and a socialist, Devlin underscores what was really at stake for the working class Catholics of Northern Ireland. She argues that the solution to Northern Ireland's (and all of Ireland's) problems lay outside its sectarian issues, and was in reality more about econ ...more
Carol Cleaveland
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book made me a socialist. Need I say more?
Mar 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Incredible story of Devlin's fight for justice and freedom. It definately makes you see "the struggles" in a new light.
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Part memoir, part thesis, part explanatory memo - this is a must read for anyone interested in the history or present of Northern Ireland. Devlin recounts her early life in Cookstown, how her politics were shaped by poverty and education, the events of 1968-69, the rise and fall of People's Democracy, and her election as MP for Mid-Ulster.

The highlights of the book are Devlin's astute analysis of political players in Northern Ireland, Dublin and Westminster, and her nuanced examination of segre
Nov 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This novel explores the childhood and young adulthood of Bernadette Devlin who was appointed as the youngest female MP in 1969. Her account explores her motives for becoming involved in People's Democracy as it highlights the discrimination and oppression which Catholics faced in the North of Ireland at that time, and her efforts to challenge the Unionist dominated government in order to effect a more just and equitable society. A gripping account of a difficult period in Ireland's history writt ...more
Sep 16, 2007 added it
Written in 1969 by a 20 year old Catholic who a year later became the youngest-ever Member of Parliament. Gives an on-the-scene picture of life in Derry in 1968/1969. Very controversial--just ask Tim or Annie about the miniskirt she wore on a trip to Chicago in the 1970s!!
Donna Davis
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those interested in the Irish freedom struggle
Devlin write this, her autobiography, when she was all of 23 years old. Had it been anyone else I would have considered it ridiculous, a juvenile pretention, but Bernadette Devlin was one of the primary fighters for Irish freedom during the tumultuous 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, and given how events played out, it is likely that she wrote this while fully anticipating that she’d be killed in the struggle fairly early on. Goodness knows, the British cops tried. Here’s a bit of background information f ...more
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Bernadette Devlin was the youngest person ever elected as a Member of Parliament when she was voted in in 1968, at the inception of what came to be known as the Northern Ireland Troubles. In this book she tells about the development of her political consciousness and her sense of impotence and frustration with the politics of the six counties of Ulster under British control. She tells in chilling (and also at times humorous) detail of the march from Belfast to Derry under constant scrutiny by Br ...more
May 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Autobiography at age 22? It makes sense for Bernadette who arises from the cauldron of northern Ireland as the attempt to emulate the peaceful civil rights marches of the American civil rights movement runs into the reality that any marching in northern Ireland is a magnet for violence. 1969 and the lid blows off in northern Ireland and her election to the house of commons is only a prelude to a thirty year civil war and Bernadette moves into the shadows of history. Her refusal to embrace the IR ...more
Nov 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My dad tried to convert me to the IRA but somehow I resisted. The anti-war movement and my exposure to Quakerism, Christianity, and Eastern philosophy disaffected me from violent revolutionary ideology. Sorry dad.
Nov 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, love-it
I would recommend this to anyone who likes s good autobiography.
Oct 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've had this on my shelf for a long time, but never got around to reading it because I didn't think I needed to read a book-length treatment of the civil rights movement in the north of Ireland. How silly of me. Of course I should have suspected that one of the best orators I ever have had a chance to hear might also write a glorious memoir. For me, the notable treasure in this little vault is the first third of the book, the opening four chapters, in which she tells of her upbringing, stories ...more
Elena Akers
May 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs
Read for a book review assignment for a class about the Northern Ireland conflict. An interesting look at Bernadette Devlin’s early life and what led her to politics throughout the beginning of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Fairly average memoir content, but if you’re particularly interested in the civil rights movement in NI or Devlin as a historical figure, it’s pretty good. Wouldn’t recommend just this memoir if you’re looking to understand the bigger picture of the sectarian conflict, th ...more
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second time I’ve read this book.

Particularly enjoyed Chapter 4 with it’s summary of Irish history and stories about Mother Benignus. I went to the same school and she was still there when I arrived. I remember her saying ‘Next to God I love you Ireland.’

Overall a good read written in an easy to read style.

Great last sentence referring to the Unionist Party Government : ‘And with traditional Irish mercy, when we’ve got it down we will kick it into the ground.’
Reminds me of another
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
this was incredible- wanted to learn more about bernadette since listening to her interview with the blindboy podcast, and this was v good. particularly for how & why the troubles started from someone who was v much at the centre of things. if u can get ur hands on a copy, do (& listen to her interview too)! book is out of print so hard to find but happy to lend out my edition if ur v careful with it ...more
provides quite a bit of insight on the sectarian situation in Northern Ireland in the 1960s. It's a bit twofold - partly about Bernadette's upbringing and her parents, and partly about her political career and Irish politics. It does get a little confusing especially during her election because there are so many opponents and political figures to keep track of, and I'm not especially familiar with them. But it's also a bit of a primer on socialist revolutions.
Eimear O’Donoghue
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing

I will always admire her ability to go to Westminister and sit amongst MPs who treated her like a girl instead of a representative. Also having to endure the pomp and ceremony of it all even though she knew it wouldn’t further her agenda must have been difficult.
She wrote brilliantly, just wish there was more to read.
Patrick McNamara
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an extraordinary story well told by an extraordinary woman. She was only 22 at the time of writing and the youngest woman to be elected to the UK parliament. She explains the origins of the war in Northern Ireland in the clearest prose. You can feel her understandable anger but it does not detract in any way from the clarity of her descriptions.
John Grogan
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
God Bless Bernadette Devlin. I was eight years old when Bernadette Devlin was on every black and white telly in The Free State as she calls The Republic of Ireland. Price of My Soul is an honest account of that time. Fifty years on the book resonates her defiance and honesty as I remember it. The book ends in 1969 but that was the beginning of what became known as The Troubles. Brilliant book
Katelyn Thompson
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Bernadette Devlin writes in a personable voice, and provides an interesting account of the troubles in Northern Ireland that don’t require background information. She also creates a fascinating account of her own life and childhood, and her role as the youngest MP.
Míceál  Ó Gealbháin
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wish Bernadette would update this book. A lot has happened to her and Ireland since 1969.
Leela Martin
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a really fun and interesting read. Devlin explains really well the situation in Northern Ireland and gives a more human side to the manifestations and the events during The Troubles.
Cassandra Corrigan
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very inspiring and enlightening, a must-read for advocates and activists in training
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
"We were born into an unjust system; we are not prepared to grow old in it."

And with that one sentence in the first page of the forward, I was hooked.

I've read about Northern Ireland and the Troubles here and there, but I knew very little about Bernadette Devlin. In fact, the only thing I really did know about her was that she slapped a politician in the House of Commons when he suggested the paratroopers fired out of self-defense on Bloody Sunday. That was more than enough to cement her name in
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Me gusto mucho el libro, ella es una gran mujer, que verdaderamente quería el cambio y bien ella lo dijo que su misión en la vida no era hacer política sino lograr que se haga algo.
A mi parecer Bernadette Devlin es una gran mujer que pelo por los derechos civiles en Irlanda
Jun 25, 2016 marked it as to-read
* Ireland

The 22 year-old Member of Parliament from Northern Ireland tells her story.
Stina Leicht
Oct 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
I found it very helpful for research.
Dec 09, 2007 rated it liked it
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