My Life in Loyalism
Growing up in the Shankill area of Belfast and living through the sectarian turmoil of the late 1960s,Â Billy Hutchinson joined the UVF in the early 1970s.Â In 1975, at the age of just 19, he was sentenced to lifeÂ in prison, and it was in the cages of Long Kesh thatÂ he first came under the influence of loyalist iconÂ Gusty Spence.Â
Hutchinson spent much of the 1980s as overall CommandingÂ Officer of UVF/Red Hand Commando prisoners, and upon hisÂ release in 1990, he became involved with the recently establishedÂ Progressive Unionist Party. As an authentic link between the UVFÂ and the PUP, he was at the forefront of negotiations that led to theÂ Belfast Agreement and was the UVF's point of contact during theÂ weapons decommissioning programme. Written with greatÂ candour and honesty, this is a gripping memoir of an extraordinaryÂ life which reveals previously unpublished accounts of both theÂ Northern Ireland Troubles and the peace process that culminated in the historic Belfast Agreement of 1998.Â
From Tartan gang member to leading loyalist paramilitary, and fromÂ Progressive Unionist politician to Belfast City Councillor,Â My Life in Loyalism is Billy Hutchinson's remarkable story.