When I agreed to review W.S. Martin’s Brave Boys of Derry or No Surrender!, I thought I would be reading a fictionalized account of actual events. Instead, the book read much like a history text. At times, I did find the writing a bit dull and there were sections where I thought the author was much less than unbiased.
What this book did for me, though, is something I wonder if the author really intended. Though it is hard to know for sure, as Mr. Martin is no longer alive to ask, I believe the reason for writing this was to keep alive the memories of the brave men and women of Londonderry, Ireland. I believe he was trying to instill a sense of deep admiration toward the people of Londonderry who faced starvation and death as they worked so hard to protect their town from French and Irish troops in the late 1600’s. What this book did for me, though, was give me something to think about. Ever since I finished reading the book, I keep thinking about the religious differences in our word today. The siege of Londonderry came about as a result of a struggle between Catholics and Protestants in the British Isles. It seems that each side thought they were the only “true” church and the only “true” representation of God on Earth.
Oh, I am sure there were other reasons for the turmoil in this period of British history. But it is the Catholic vs. Protestant theme that is repeated the most in the book. Today, there are still arguments over which is the right way to worship God. I’ve seen these arguments split up churches and families. Is one side right and the other right? Who am I to say? All I know is that the Bible says clearly that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Regardless of how you choose to worship, so long as you have accepted the sacrifice Christ made on your behalf, you are doing the right thing.
The lives lost at Londonderry serve as a reminder of how Christians in the past have gone too far in attempting to prove their faith. In many ways, I believe this book was written as a reminder not to go that far again. Those defending the city were brave and steadfast in their beliefs. That is a good thing. If a person really, truly believes something is right, he or she should do all they can to protect that belief. It is admirable to be willing to die for your religious convictions.
To be willing to kill for them, though, seems a bit extreme.
Thanks for the nice review of this book, Lynn. The style is definitely a bit different than you usually see these days. Glad you found something to enjoy in it.