This is a PhD thesis, which was written at the University of Zürich, but it does not read not like a dissertation; it reads more like a giant essay. The author has a very clear writing style (even though she uses "by the way" far too often), makes personal comments and uses a lot of illustrations; theoretical and methodological statements are kept to a minimum. The result is a thought-provoking read for everyone who is interested in Northern Ireland.
One can see that Hawes-Bilger has put a lot of effort into her thesis. She has collected and analysed thousands of examples of Northern Irish discourse, and she illustrates her points using hundreds of them. She deals with both lexical issues (Is an IRA killer a "terrorist" or a "freedom fighter"?) and grammatical ones (e.g. passivisation as a means of disguising the agent of an action). After that, she analyses some of the key texts of Northern Irish politics, mostly from the end of the last century. At the very end of her work, Hawes-Bilger even takes a critical look at Critical Linguistics itself (p. 303) - something, I suppose, that does not happen very often!
There are only a few minor criticisms I have. Unfortunately, Hawes-Bilger does not say very much about the labels of "Catholic" vs. "Protestant"; for instance, when is the religious label used rather than the political one ("Republican" vs. "Unionist")? After all, the two sets are not interchangeable, and the conflict in NI is, for most people, not a religious but a political one. Secondly, an idex with all the key words and concepts analysed would have been very helpful. Finally, Ulster Scots, a small variety in Northern Ireland, is not derived from Scottish English (p. 22), but, as the name says, from Scots.
On the whole, however, I found this a very stimulating and interesting book, well thought through and written to be understood.