'As I grew older I often asked myself whether history has made me who I am, and will I, in turn, make history with that?'
Tony Doherty has lived in the shadow of his father's execution on Bloody Sunday. At 18 he found himself facing long-term imprisonment, yet the soldier who shot his father was a free man.
The Skelper and Me is no ordinary memoir. It is a triumph of working class resolve and resilience over the last bastion of Empire. Epitomising the old adage that 'if you didn't laugh you'd cry,' it sallies forth as a fascinating and compelling story of prison life, making a willing inmate of the reader, weaving a tapestry of the lives of his young cellmates, who never deserved such a life, but whose very existence played out, often hilariously, sometimes painfully, and at close quarter behind the steel door of Cell 5, Crumlin Road.
Upon returning to a war-torn Derry in 1985, freedom had a more liberating effect on him and others than he had anticipated. As his family saw qualities in him that he hadn't realised, he began to pick up the pieces of his battered but unbroken home town, locked in bitter stalemate. At his father's cross on Creggan Hill, he promised to make right out of the wrong. The epic struggle that followed changed the course of history.