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Books - History - Historical Study - My Favorite Books About Irish American History

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    1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Irish-American History
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (26 February, 2002)
    list price: $15.95
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    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Good Book, and a Great Gift Item
    Overall a very good book and a very scholarly work. The book's Introduction provides us a brief insight into O'Donnell's motive for embarking on this work:

    This book ... is my answer to a question I've heard countless times in the past: Where can I find a book about the history of the Irish in America that is both accurate and accessible? My goal has been to write just such a book --- a fun yet factual look at the people and events that have marked Irish American history. I've brought to this task an inclusive approach that recognizes that Irish Americans always been characterized by an extraordinary diversity --- from religion to politics to class and identity. My inclusive approach has likewise led me to chronicle not simply the triumphs of Irish Americans, but also their failures.

    I feel that in 1001 THINGS ..., O'Donnell met his goal!

    I'm a regular reader of O'Donnell's weekly Hibernian Chronicle column in the Irish Echo. So his "easy to read and understand" writing style comes as no surprise to me. But the other user friendly features are: A sensible organization of 10 chapters; about 175 illustration or photographs; numbered entries, and a good index. Indeed the book is "accurate and accessible," and provides a handy reference to answer questions. Not only questions raised by others, but also questions that arise in one's mind while reading news accounts, books, watching films, etc.

    I always rely on reading to reduce the ardors of travel. I001 THINGS ... is a perfect travel book. The individually numbered entries, in a flexible paperback book, are very compatible with "stop and go" reading in an airport terminal or in flight --- particularly in the 'hurry up and wait" environment of these post 9-11 days.

    And the price? I purchased several copies because the price is reasonable, and it makes a great gift item. I generally trust my judgement. If I enjoy a book, the recipient of my gift probably will too.

    I've read many reviews of 1001 THINGS ... All have been favorable. Overall I share that assessment.

    But I'm a little disappointed about the omission of some notables.

    The McCourts --- Frank, Malachy, and one or two other brothers we have yet to hear from --- are not mentioned. I first thought that perhaps O"Donnell only included personages no longer with us. But this doesn't appear to be the case. Live personages such as Michael Flatley, Jean Butler, The Berrigan brothers, and Ted Kennedy make the pages of 1000 THINGS ...

    Then there is the omission of General O'Reilly, the second Spanish Governor of Louisiana. Yes, I was surprised too. Spain also ruled Louisiana. And a man with the decidedly Hispanic-Hibernian name of Alejandro O'Reilly was the second Spanish Governor of Louisiana. Indeed an interesting career in politics in the new world, for a descendant of a "Wild Geese" family.

    The most unfortunate omission is the Healy family. In the early 1800s, Michael Healy, an Irish-born Georgia planter, purchased Mary Eliza, a mixed-race slave. Laws during the slavery era prohibited interracial marriages, but Michael and Mary Eliza carried out their family life as husband and wife. Their union produced 10 children. Three brothers entered the priesthood ---

    James Healy was the first black American to be ordained a Roman Catholic priest. He later became Bishop of Portland Maine (certainly another first), where he provided distinguished leadership in pastoral work, education, social advocacy, and public welfare.

    Sherwood Healy reportedly received a doctorate in Canon Law from the North American College in Rome in 1860.

    Patrick Healy was ordained as a Jesuit priest, going on to serve as Georgetown University's prefect of studies from 1868 to 1878, and its president from 1873 to 1881 ---- the first African-American president of a predominantly white university. Healy Hall, one of Georgetown's major buildings is named in his honor.

    Unlike his brothers, Michael Healy did not embark on an ecclesiastical career. He ultimately joined the US Revenue Service, the forerunner of today's US Coast Guard. He mostly served in the waters of Alaska, attaining the rank of Captain and the Commanding Officer of the BEAR. The Coast Guard icebreaker, HEALY, is named in his honor.

    We know little of the remaining Healy children except that three of the girls became nuns, with one of them attaining the rank of Mother Superior of her order.

    Indeed the Healys were a distinguished Irish - American family.

    Aside from the omissions, 1001 THINGS ... is still a good book. I hope that O'Donnell will address the omissions with a future sequel to 1001 THINGS. Perhaps a suitable title might be ANOTHER 1001 THINGS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT IRISH AMERICAN HISTORY. In the meantime, I'll keep distributing the current version as suitable gifts to friends.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A lively, concise surveys of Irish-American experiences
    Irish immigrants have played central roles in defining the American character and identity, sharing their history and resources for generations. 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Irish American Historys provides lively, concise surveys of Irish-American experiences, including both ancient Irish history and religion to modern surveys of Irish lives. A historical timeline format by topic allows readers quick and easy access to Irish facts, biographies of notable figures, and events.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Things I didn't know!
    I was able to borrow a copy from a friend. Now I think I may buy this book. The contributions of the Irish to our culture are so much wider and more meaningful that the trite and distorted leprachauns leaping around on St. Patrick's Day! And usually drunk at that. This book, written in a crisp and clear style, provides a refutation of that stereotype. It should be of interest to a much wider audience. Worth the money and time. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0767906861
    Sales Rank: 185218
    Subjects:  1. Europe - Ireland    2. History    3. History - General History    4. History: World    5. Ireland    6. Irish Americans    7. Minority Studies - Ethnic American    8. Miscellanea    9. Reference    10. United States - General    11. History / Reference   

    The American Irish : A History (Studies in Modern History)
    by Kevin Kenny
    Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (27 June, 2000)
    list price: $30.00 -- our price: $30.00
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    Reviews (1)

    3-0 out of 5 stars reporting the facts
    This book needed a better editor. Professor Kenny is allowed to repeat himself constantly. In his introduction he apologizes in advance for the number of statistics that he will present in the book. He then proceeds to provide a moderate number of statistics three or four times, sometimes in subsequent paragraphs. This is merely mildly irritating.

    A more irritating habit of the author's is to provide a selection of analyses of a particular historical or cultural question and then provide a very lame summary or feint at providing his own analysis without writing anything of substance. For example, he brings up the question of "Why do the Irish have such an alcohol problem?", sketches out various other scholars' theories about this cultural phenomenon, "straightens out" some misunderstandings (e.g., they don't drink more, they drink differently (!?)) and you finish the section having no idea why alcholism is prevalent in Irish culture.

    Professor Kenny is fine at reporting the facts (especially if you need to be told more than once). I finished this book knowing a great deal more about the "what" and the "where" of Irish Americana, but very little more about the "why". Aside from these basic complaints I would say that this is a book worth reading. Kenny arranges his book chronologically, beginning in the 18th century, well before the Famine diaspora. He makes an explicit effort to explain the relationship between largely "Scotch-Irish" immigrants from Ulster of the 18th and earliest 19th century and later largely Catholic immigrants from Munster and Connacht. The Ulster people had been in Ireland less than 200 years before they uprooted themselves and moved on; their identification with Ireland was considerably weaker than that of emigrants from Munster and Connacht. The appellation "Scotch-Irish" was invented in the US by the Ulster people in order to distinguish themselves from the famine Irish, who were altogether more destitute, culturally distinct (different folkways), not to mention Catholic.

    There is a great deal of information in this book. It is simply not all that well presented or analyzed. It is understandable that it be sold as a textbook; the analysis can perhaps take place in the classroom after the reading. As I read this book out of curiosity and not as a reading assignment, it is now up to me to find more critical books to supplement the basic knowledge that this book provides. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0582278171
    Sales Rank: 510098
    Subjects:  1. Emigration & Immigration    2. Emigration and immigration    3. Ethnic Studies - General    4. History    5. History - General History    6. History: American    7. Ireland    8. Irish Americans    9. Minority Studies - Ethnic American    10. Social Science    11. United States    12. United States - General    13. History / General   


    For the Cause of Liberty : A Thousand Years of Ireland's Heroes
    by Terry Golway
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (08 March, 2000)
    list price: $26.00
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    Editorial Review

    For more than 800 years, Ireland has had to define itself politically in relation to its next-door neighbor and sometime occupier, England. That fact has fueled generations of Irish revolutionary activity--and given rise to countless heroes, ordinary men and women who suffered and died in the cause of freedom.

    One person's hero is, of course, another's criminal, and Irish American journalist Terry Golway takes pains not to paint too saintly a portrait of men such as Daniel O'Connell, a Catholic emancipator who loathed rebellion but loathed oppression even more; Michael Collins, the soldier and politician who helped bring about the modern Irish state; Gusty Spence, the Ulster Protestant militant who, while in prison, became a convert to the cause of nonsectarian peacebuilding; and Gerry Adams, who helped bring militant Catholics into negotiations with their Protestant counterparts and the English government. While striving for balance, For the Cause of Liberty takes an overwhelmingly pro-Irish stand vis-à-vis England, which may not please some readers, as he charts the lives and accomplishments of dozens of historical figures major and minor. Those heroes of old may soon belong to a fading past; as Golway notes, approvingly, Northern Ireland seems well along on its path to peace, while the Republic is rapidly becoming "post-nationalist," with one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe, "outpacing Britain and even Germany." His vivid history reminds readers well, however, of the cost of that newfound wealth and harmony. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

    Reviews (12)

    5-0 out of 5 stars How little I knew of Irish struggle
    I'm part Irish-American and I knew some about the conflicts between the British and the Irish. After reading For the Cause of Liberty, I now realize how little I knew.

    The book provided an excellent history of the Irish struggle.The information on the Irish heroes (both Protestant and Catholic) who fought the British was very readable.I never knew that the French had a hand (or tried to) in the rebellion in the late 1700's.The extent of the savagery and despicable behavior that the Irish endured was very effectively presented.Overall, an excellent book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book on Irish History
    Golway has a very easy to read writing style. He gives seemingly very intimate details about each person he talks about, and also gives you alot of background information that you might miss in other books. In some parts of it, you can almost imagine that the heros of old are still alive and fighting for freedom.

    He covers more about history 1850 onwards than previously, but he gives fair time to both of them. A fascinating book for anyone who wants to know about Ireland, or the history of Revolutions in the world.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Ideal for its Purpose
    Evaluating Golway's book in terms of its subtitle-- a thousand years of Ireland's heroes-- I think this selection is fantastic. As a semi-biographical profile of many prominent, legendary, and simply amazing Irish revolutionaries, this book does exactly what it should. Golway discusses such notables as Brian Boru, the O'Neill family, Wolfe Tone, Daniel O'Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, Arthur Griffith, O'Donovan Rossa, Kevin Barry, Richard Mulcahy, the leaders of the Easter Rising, Eamon de Valera, Michael Collins, Kevin Barry, Bobby Sands, Countess Markievicz, Bernadette Devlin, and many more. Other reviewers have summarized quite well what the book is; I would like to provide readers with an idea of what the book is not. This would make excellent supplementary reading for anyone with an interest in Irish history. However, Golway does focus on elements of biography and therefore does presume a fair bit of knowledge on the part of the audience. If you are looking for a good starting point in learning about Irish history, I would not suggest this title. On the other hand, if you already have a general working knowledge about Ireland, these biographies would very, very much enrich your experience. Bottom line: buy it for the biographies and consider any Irish history you pick up along the way an added bonus. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0684855569
    Subjects:  1. Biography    2. Europe - Ireland    3. History    4. History - General History    5. History: World    6. Ireland    7. Ireland - History    8. Nationalism    9. Nationalists    10. Rebellion And Insurgency    11. Revolutionaries    12. Western Europe - General    13. History / Europe / Western   

    The Irish in America
    by Michael Coffey
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (17 March, 2000)
    list price: $19.95
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    Editorial Review

    When public television aired The Irish in America in early 1998, the program received several tepid reviews from big-city TV critics. It seemed the drama of the early episodes--with their chilling, poignant stories of the "Famine Immigrants" of 19th-century Ireland--couldn't be sustained throughout all six hours. Well, words may be worth 1,000 pictures--at least, as read by Irish actor Colm Meaney (The Commitments, The Snapper) in this audio version. With a gentle elocutionary lilt, Meaney makes every event immediate, every personal history intimate. The story of the Irish immigrant experience is told here in six parts: "Hunger," "The Parish," "The Precinct," "Work," "The Arts," and "The New Irish." Along the way, we hear the interweaving of personal accounts--of Patrick Kennedy, great-great-grandfather to John; and James O'Neill, great-grandfather to Eugene. And in an imaginative pairing of scripted narration and personal narrative, each section closes with an essay written and read by a present-day American with deep roots in the Irish story. The most moving is a poetic eulogy to hunger from Frank McCourt, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of Angela's Ashes. As with the TV version, it's the first section of the narrative--where we follow the journey of the 19th-century Famine Irish as they flee the recurring potato blight--that makes these cassettes worth a long car ride. The insidious fungus that killed a million people also wiped out the ancient myths and honored traditions of an entire culture, transplanting its survivors to a country that was, at best, hostile. Still, the Irish in America managed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and in the century that followed, went on to influence every aspect of American life. (Four audiocassettes; running time: 4.5 hours) ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book, well done and full of facts.
    As a person of Irish descent, I was very happy to see "The Irish in America".This book is full of colorful illustrations showing what the Irish have accomplished in this country.I am referencing the book in my MA, History Thesis, this Autumn.

    On page 57, however, the editors have made an understandable error.They attribute the founding of Manhattan College (1853), De La Salle University (1863) and St. Mary's (Moraga, California, (1863) to the Irish Christian Brothers.As a 1965 graduate of Manhattan College, I can tell you that these three colleges were founded by the French Christian Brothers, also know as the De La Salle Brothers.This teaching order was founded in Paris by St. John Baptist de la Salle, and predates the Irish Christian Brothers by almost two hundred years. To my knowledge, the only college founded by the Irish Christian Brothers in the U.S. is Iona College (1940) in New York. Personally, I enjoyed the book, found new facts about the Irish in America, and would recommend itto any Irish or Irish-American person.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Famous Irish offer engrossing overview of culture in USA
    Coffey and Golway give a wonderful overview of the experiences of Irish men and women in the United States. Coming to the U.S. as a result of political an religious oppression, as well as a result of the potato blight in the mid-19th century, the Irish worked hard to gain respectablity and political voices as American citizens. In many cases, especially in the early 20th Century, to be Irish was to be a second class citizen in the U.S. Today's attitudes prove that the Irish have come a long way in American society from being judged as such to becoming a very proud and celebrated nationality in our country.

    Coffey and Golway use numerous anecdotes, excerpts, and other quotations from famous and not so famous Irish Americans. Included in this book are Denis Leary, Frank McCourt, and a forward by Patrick Kennedy. Reflections of these Irish-American personalities on their grandparents' or parents' lives and hard work, as well as memories of Catholic school, and other aspects of Irish-American life. Glossy photographs accent each passage beautifully and add to the overall attraction of the book. Contributions by all the authors provides a celebration of Irish ethnicity and heritage in the United States that is portrayed as humorous, melancholy, but overall proud. This book accents the PBS Documentary by the same name very nicely. After reading this book, I wished in a sense, that I had some Irish heritage. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0786885432
    Subjects:  1. Emigration & Immigration    2. General    3. History    4. History - General History    5. History: World    6. Irish Americans    7. Minority Studies - Ethnic American    8. United States - General    9. History / General   

    Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America (Oxford Paperbacks)
    by Kerby A. Miller
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 January, 1988)
    list price: $21.50 -- our price: $21.50
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    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars How So Many Irish Became American
    Emigrants and Exiles:Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America is a well documented history of the emigration of more than seven million Irish people who left Eire for North America in five time periods from pre-Revolutionary days to 1921.Author Kerby Miller's research included more than 750 sources in both public and privately held collections in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Canada, 20 U.S. states and the District of Columbia as well as more than 5,000 emigrants' letters,memoirs, poems, songs and folklore.

    Miller begins and ends the book with recollections of Irish oral tradition to help understand the essence of the Irish emigration experience. He refers to Irish poems, songs and ballads from as early as the 11th century to explain an almost original sin-like belief that all Irish are exiles whether they emigrated or not. He explains how the Irish wake became a metaphor for the departure of the emigrants. In the last moments before Maura O'Sullivan left her mother's cottage to begin her journey to America, the old women of the village gathered `round to sing a mournful goodbye that just as easily could have been a funeral dirge:"Oh, musha, Maura, how shall I live after you when the long winter's night will be here and you not coming to the door nor your laughter to be heard!"

    By the 1830s, less than 10,000 families literally owned Ireland, with several hundred of the wealthiest proprietors and large tenants monopolizing the bulk of the land.The Irish Diaspora flowed from an extreme concentration of property and power in an agrarian, export-based economy where too many people competed for too few jobs.In 1841, 80 percent of the more than 8.1 million Irish lived in communities of less than 20 houses.Most people were forced to lead lives of impoverished subsistence agriculture, poorly paid urban common labor or to emigrate.

    Miller says Irish country people were "preliterate;" that is, they were illiterate while preserving a rich oral tradition and robust cultural heritage through their Gaelic language.Gaelic tradition had been sustained in Ireland by hereditary storytellers and poets who met in "courts of poetry" at farmhouses where established bards judged the compositions of their successors.Hundreds of thousands of Gaelic speakers emigrated to North America.

    Music and dancing also played a prominent role in rural Irish culture from whence most emigrants came.Miller says visitors were often astonished that people so poor could exhibit such skill and spontaneous pleasure in song and dance.He quotes a traveling Englishman who observed, "We frog-blooded English dance as if the practice were not congenial to us, but here they moved as if dancing had been the business of their lives."

    Prior to 1815, most Irish emigrants either were able to pay their passages or "emigrated for nothing" as indentured servants.After that, overseas demand for indentured servants practically disappeared while opportunities to earn livable wages in Ireland continued to deteriorate.A pattern of family chain migration developed that financed over half of all Irish migration after 1840.

    In 1845, Ireland's population was about 8.5 million.Ten years later, after the worst of the Famine, it stood at 6 million.Many had died from starvation and disease, but most had emigrated to North America.Those who arrived in North America were temperamentally as well as economically less prepared for assimilation into their new lives abroad because of their strong peasant heritage.One Irish emigrant wrote, "Had I fallen from the clouds amongst this people, I could not feel more isolated, more bewildered."Another wrote, "We are a primitive people wandering wildly in a strange land ..."

    Miller tells us at least 200,000 Irishmen served in the U.S. Civil War, the vast majority for the Union, which paid lucrative bounties to many recruits. He shares a letter from emigrant Thomas McManus to his family in Ireland in which Thomas assured them he wasn't forced to enlist, but "by `Gor' the bounty was very tempting and I enlisted the first day I came here."Thomas sent $350 of the $700 he received for joining up to help his family in Ireland. $700 was more than ten years' wages for an Irish laborer at the time.

    Irish-Catholic immigrants brought their own factions, secret societies, sports and boisterous wakes to their neighborhoods and work sites in North America.Vicious battles over employment opportunities and territory were common among rival bands of workers from different parts of Ireland, as well as between the Irish and workers of other nationalities.The Irish were always sensitive to anti-Irish prejudice, symbolized by the "No Irish Need Apply" slogan, the source of which apparently was a song from England.Irish clannishness was often expressed in allegiance to strong-willed, often stridently Irish priests, to Irish street gangs, volunteer fire companies, political clubs and frequent mob actions against non-Irish competitors.The St. Patrick's Day observance was celebrated to extol Irish Catholic solidarity and build political strength.

    This is not to say Irish Catholic immigrants were unified.On the contrary, Miller shows how they were deeply divided in several ways.Significant differences existed between Irish- and American-born generations, between different waves of emigrants in different stages of adaptation and affluence and between those who earned formal educational credentials and those who pursued trades and manual labor.Other factions arose between the English-speaking majority and the approximately half-million who still spoke Irish.Gender equality was also a prevalent issue between Irish men and women.In fact, Miller reports Irish-American women enjoyed significantly greater upward mobility and more successful adjustment to American society than did their male peers.

    Kerby Miller's work is unquestionably a rich treasure of outstanding historical scholarship.It should occupy prime space on the shelf of anyone interested in emigration generally or the histories of the United States, Canada, Australia, England and any other country in which Irish emigrants have settled.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Pretty thorough look at the Irish Diaspora
    An excellent book covering the migration out of Ireland.Miller looks at the different time periods and at the different kinds of immigration, and traces the idea of emigration as "exile."Great background materials are included, as well as good statistical appendices and notes.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Why did our ancestors emigrate?Why did some wait so long?
    Many of us tracing our Irish ancestry will never really know our forebears- we may learn their names and the dates and places of their births anddeaths - but we will never know who they really were.It is to sourcessuch as this book that we must turn to flesh out the picture of the Irishemigrant and the forces that drove them from their homes - economic,social, cultural, and psychological, as well as their reactions to andrationalizations of those forces.We must then apply this information onthe Irish emigrant milieu to the framework of knowledge of our specificforebears.The book has given me a plausible explanation as to why myCounty Mayo ancestors did not emigrate until the 1880's while so many fromother parts of Ireland came over much sooner.Dr. Miller is quite detailedin his discussion of the differences in the adherence to traditional Irishculture and the Irish language that existed between the inhabitants ofwestern Ireland and the remainder of the island.A must-read for anygeneaologist seeking their Irish roots! ... Read more

    Isbn: 0195051874
    Sales Rank: 200476
    Subjects:  1. Emigration & Immigration    2. Emigration and immigration    3. Europe - Ireland    4. History    5. History - General History    6. History: American    7. Ireland    8. Irish    9. Social conditions    10. United States    11. United States - 19th Century    12. Anthropology    13. Civil rights & citizenship    14. Immigration & emigration    15. Modern period, c 1500 onwards    16. Social history    17. USA   


    Irish America : Coming Into Clover
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (13 February, 2001)
    list price: $24.95 -- our price: $24.95
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    Reviews (13)

    5-0 out of 5 stars "Now ,don't go getting above buttermilk."

    I've not heard the above saying before,but knew immediately exactly what it meant.This book is an excellent review of what it means to be Irish and what Irish,and particularly Catholic Irish is all about.
    There are over 50 million scattered around the world who claim Irish ancestory;and by no means are they all alike.
    "Almost anything you can say about Irish Americans is both true and false."
    Dezell's discussion about CWASP's, Catholic/Celtic White Anglo Saxon Protestants,is a bit different ,but right on the mark.
    The book is loaded with one-liners or epigrams.Here are a few to get your curiosity:

    "No point being Irish unless you think that the world is going to break your heart someday."

    "As is often the case, conventional wisdom is wrong."

    "Irish blood doesn't water down very well,the strain must be strong."

    "God gives us no more than we can bear."Rose Kennedy

    "There is no race of people for which pychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever ." Sigmund Freud

    "If you're feeling something,for Gods's sake take something."

    "If I'm Irish and I lose my arm,someone is going to tell me,'it's a good thing I didn't lose them both."

    A great read for anyone interested in Irish culture ,be it in Ireland,America or even here in Canada.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Oh, It's So True!
    I'm a Jew from New York, married to someone from South Boston. One of my familys closest friends (now regrettably desceased) came to the US from Belfast at the age of 10. Maureen Dezell has great interviews and made me laugh because I can see all of what she is talking about. I also have friends in Toastmasters from Ireland, and look forward to visiting in 2004. Then I can see the other side of Maureen Dezell's book. The book can be read in a quiet evening. Think of a deep psychological tome, only very readable and funny.
    Her description of Michael Flatley and Riverdance keeps popping up.
    No, I wont tell you. Read the book!

    4-0 out of 5 stars looking over a four-leaf clover
    A lot of the reviewers here have remarked how surprised they were to see themselves and their families in Maureen Dezell's synoptic view of Irish culture in "America" (including Canada?).I have to join these reviewers in saying what a revelation this book was to me.There is Irish blood on both sides of my family and I am also somewhat active in the local Irish-American community, so I see a lot of the type of behavior that she describes, particularly the cheerful bleakness in outlook ("It could all go wrong tomorrow, but we'll be all right ... probably.") and the careful "chopping down of the tall wheat" (as I am told the Australians say).

    When I was growing up we thought of the Italians members of the extended family as having discernible "culture" and it was tacitly assumed that the Irish relatives were just "normal Americans"; Ms. Dezell points out that this is the general condition in Irish America.It is not so much that the Irish are ashamed of their heritage (although sometimes they are), but more that they don't see any reason to make a big deal about it most of the time, so each generation takes more and more of the family character for granted.The Irish have a tendency to stick together in neighborhoods and in social organizations, and I can testify to the fact that they seem to unconsciously gravitate toward one another in a crowd, drawn together by their shared suspicion about putting on airs or taking an occasion too seriously.These reasons, and their enormous numbers, enable them to forget that they are in fact a distinct ethnic group.

    Ms. Dezell's book pulls aside the curtain (lace or otherwise) that hides all these quirks, traits and folkways and reveals the Irish character in all its cacophony of paradoxes, engimas, aggravations and delights.I subtract one star from my rating because Ms. Dezell comes dangerously close to being an Irish-American apologist on several topics, particularly racism, but also when examining the issue of drinking and the role of women in the culture.She also tends to repeat herself a bit too often for my taste.I believe that she is merely trying to drive home her points, but I noticed it.And, true to my ethnic roots, I can be pretty cranky sometimes. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0385495951
    Sales Rank: 569398
    Subjects:  1. Elements In The U.S. Population    2. Ethnic Sociology    3. Ethnic Studies - General    4. History    5. History - General History    6. History: American    7. Irish American Catholics    8. Irish Americans    9. Minority Studies - Ethnic American    10. Social conditions    11. Social life and customs    12. United States - General    13. Social Science / Demography   


    The Encyclopedia of the Irish in America
    by Michael Glazier
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 October, 1999)
    list price: $89.95 -- our price: $89.95
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    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars So Many Names, So Much History!!
    This encyclopedia is a wonderful source of information that is delightfully synthesized into one volume.The beauty of this book is that it acts as a source of historical information and provides hours of leisure entertainment in one volume.From Bing Crosby to Eamon De Valera, the Irish American relationship is well embraced and honored wonderfully.With reference to the Irish influence in virtually every state, this book provides a unique look at the history of these hard-working and successful immigrants.A must have in any Irish-American household.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Reliable Information - NOT!
    I purchased this book as a researcher to assist me in my work and serve as a tool to both speed-up processes and use as a source to back-up my findings. One would imagine that the publishers would have provided accurate information. I found several errors in the information provided which demonstrates a lack of research and sloppiness in proofing of material contained within it.For instance; Judy Garland (a well known Irish American with very public information) is listed as the granddaughter of a FITZGERALD she was a FITZPATRICK ( big difference when you are using the information for research and genealogy and want a reliable source document for footnotes or bibliographies! the errors can result in un-substantiated work and wrong information. There are other errors less obvious but are too numerous to list. In short, this book was a waste of money and time on my part being of no help at all. I question all the data contained in it. The publisher has not provided a correction of the page as requested by me.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, definitive survey of Irish-American history.
    This weighty volume will appeal to holdings with strong Irish history interests: it is compiled by a panel of scholars drawn from various nations and details the Irish people in Ireland and America. The inclusion oflistings by state and area allows students to narrow their studies to localIrish history, while the listings include notable individuals, events, andsocial and religious topics affecting the Irish. A comprehensive andimportant addition to any serious Irish history collection. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0268027552
    Sales Rank: 808867
    Subjects:  1. Elements In The U.S. Population    2. Encyclopedias    3. Ethnohistory    4. Europe - Ireland    5. History    6. History - General History    7. History: American    8. Irish Americans    9. Minority Studies - Ethnic American    10. United States - General   


    Five Points: The Nineteenth-Century New York City Neighborhood That Invented Tap Dance, Stole Elections and Became the Worlds Most Notorious Slum
    by Tyler Anbinder
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (17 September, 2001)
    list price: $30.00
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    Editorial Review

    Though long ago bulldozed away and remade, the rough-and-tumble lower Manhattan district called Five Points was once considered to be so representative of New York that foreign journalists traveled there to gather horrifying stories for their readers. Wrote a Swedish reporter, "lower than to the Five Points it is not possible for human nature to sink."

    In his wide-ranging reconstruction of Five Points's few square blocks, historian Tyler Anbinder shows that that journalist was not far off the mark. "Dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of its residents lived in windowless, teeming apartments that were unfit for habitation," he writes. Alcoholism, violence, and prostitution were commonplace. Poverty was epidemic, and living conditions were so intolerable that the reforming sociologist Jacob Riis used the area as a case study for the wretched excesses of urban life. A corrupt city government kept the police at bay, making the neighborhood safe for a succession of crime lords but woefully dangerous for residents--most of whom, in time, would be newcomers from Ireland, Italy, Russia, and other faraway lands, as well as African Americans newly arrived from the South. "Locked into the lowest-paying occupations," as Anbinder writes, they labored, saved, and eventually moved on, making room for the next wave of immigrants.

    Five Points is gone, though a few of its streets remain, marking the edge of Chinatown. Anbinder's careful study brings it back to life. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

    Reviews (17)

    5-0 out of 5 stars What a Find ! !
    I read this book about a year ago after "finding" it at a warehouse sale.I had not heard of it before;but was taken by the dust jacket and a quick glance.What a surprise,I almost couldn't belive how much I enjoyed it.As I said, I'd not heard of it or for that matter,the author.Here's a case where you can tell a book by it's cover.Then to my surprise we got all the publicity about a movie "The Gangs Of New York".So,off I went to see the movie,and Lo and Behold,it's basically the same story! There is much more detail in the book;but if your fort is bloody violence,movies like "the Untouchables" and "The Godfather"were more like Sunday School picnics.Both the book and the movie are good in their own ways.This book gives a good view of the Irish immigration in NYC up to the time of the civil war.It details in NYC what Kenelly does worldwide in "The Great Shame"

    1-0 out of 5 stars A Difficult-to-Read, Disorganized Book on a Great Subject
    In the author's acknowledgements Anbinder describes his difficulty convincing an editor to take on the project.I am not surprised:if the published version is an indication of the organization and structure of the draft, then I cannot understand why any editor would take on the task.Judging by the the final outcome, it appears the editor Anbinder did line up lost his will to live, or at least his will to edit.The book is tergid yet verbose.It repeticiously cites a year or an event as a turning point for the Five Points area and when one (finally) arrives at that year, no detail is given as to what happend, why it happened or the transition to the new state of affairs.The best example of this is the overall pre- and post-Civil War structure the author adopts:there are only a few pages on the war itself as it relates to Five Points.Most of that is filler, relating events the happened largely outside the Five Points district.

    Poor structure and difficult style asside, the research is excellent.It is a shame the author does not appear to have taken his editor's advice.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent readable non-fiction!
    After seeing "Gangs of New York", I was very much interested to learn more about the world of Five Points, but I didn't want an overly academic book to read nor an overly dumbed-down book. Anbinder provided just the right mix for me.

    His writing shows that he did significant amounts of research. However, there are certain stories that are left with loose ends. Like what happens to Jacob Riis? What about the little orphan Joseph that's found in the park?

    Other than this annoyance, the story of Five points from 1607 when it was first settled to the 1700s, when it was just an open grassy area where cow-herders took their cows to get watered, to the more famous slums of the mid to late 1800s and then to Chinatown and Little Italy of today, this book's a beautiful story that's told by Anbinder. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0684859955
    Subjects:  1. 19th century    2. City and town life    3. Ethnic neighborhoods    4. Five Points (New York, N.Y.)    5. History    6. History - General History    7. History: American    8. New York    9. New York (N.Y.)    10. New York (State)    11. New York - Local History    12. Slums    13. Social conditions    14. Sociology - Urban    15. United States - 19th Century    16. United States - State & Local - General    17. Urban Sociology    18. History / United States / 19th Century   

    Inventing Irish America: Generation, Class, and Ethnic Identity in a New England City, 1880-1928 (The Irish in America)
    by Timothy J. Meagher
    Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 November, 2000)
    list price: $29.00 -- our price: $29.00
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    Reviews (1)

    3-0 out of 5 stars The city is Worcester, Ma.
    This book should really contain the name of the city (Worcester, Massachusetts ) in the subtitle. This reader believes an intimate knowledge of the city of Worcester is central to appreciating this book, otherwise the locations mentioned within the text will just appear as an unconnected litany of place names..The book painstakingly plots the spread of the Irish immigrant community across the city landscape, parish by parish. It explains the political tightrope walk the Irish-American and the American-Irish developed with the host culture and with the newer immigrant cultures also attempting to assimilate.The author has done his homework.Quotes from leading figures, Irish community newspapers and political speeches are exhaustive. One interesting point that agrees with Andrew Greely's book on Irish-Americans is that the Irish outside of New York City and the Boston area. assimilated quickly into the melting pot, but the ethnic identity and more mature, less vibrant, industrial economies of the Northeast cities made the immigrant battle for a "piece ofpie" more difficult, than in cities to the West. .The book shows that the history of the St. Patrick's DayParade in Worcester is a pretty effective barometer that highlighted the conflicts within the Irish-American community. The author is to be commended on the research, but any purchaser of this book should know that a knowledge of the city of Worcester and its institutions would be especially helpful to appreciate this book fully.I gave it a three star rating because the quotes and research became a little too tedious in some sections. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0268031541
    Sales Rank: 836292
    Subjects:  1. Cultural assimilation    2. Ethnic Studies - General    3. Ethnic identity    4. Generations    5. History    6. History: American    7. Irish Americans    8. Massachusetts    9. Minority Studies - Ethnic American    10. Social History    11. Sociology    12. United States - Colonial Period    13. United States - State & Local - General    14. Worcester   


    Irish on the Inside: In Search of the Soul of Irish America
    by Tom Hayden
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (December, 2001)
    list price: $25.00 -- our price: $16.50
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    Reviews (5)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Feisty Flag Waver Teaches Us Much About Ireland's Image
    IRISH ON THE INSIDE is a fast-paced, entertaining and lucid look by long-time activist Tom Hayden at the history of the Irish immigrant image and the role of the Irish in American politics/business as well as an excellent survey of the seemingly unsolvable schism between Northern Ireland and the country of Ireland as a whole.

    Hayden is somewhat of a fanatic in his style of writing and that only adds a tasty morsel of Irish to the flavor!He is out to challenge misconceptions of the Irish image (drunken, wild living, fighting, wife beating, lower class citizens) that is a welcome addition to the literature.Though the numerous famous writers, playwrights, and poets from Ireland have tended to play up the Irish wild side, Hayden looks at history and fact and seeks to prove that though the Irish have definite life ties to their mother country no matter where they emigrate, their contribution to global welfare is a positive.

    Hayden spends a lot of this book giving us insight into the history of the longstanding political fighting in Northern Ireland and does so in a manner that is more illuminating than most essayists.But it is Hayden's feisty commitment to restructuring the worldview of the Irish people that is the most heartwarming and entertaining aspects to this bubbly book. A worthy read, this, no matter what your previous opinions of Tom Hayden's own political career might be!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great work of nonfiction
    I just finished reading Dan Sheehan's novel Irish American Hero. I wanted to learn more about Northern Ireland and picked up a copy of Irish On the Inside. It is a great book and I'd suggest that people pair up the two books to get a real feel for what has been going on in Northern Ireland!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Politics of Northern Ireland Made Understandable
    I read Hayden's book as I travelled through the northwest of Ireland, in the Republic and in Northern Ireland, and found great insight within.Hayden takes a tremendously complex political and social quagmire and illuminates without oversimplifying.The people who hate this book are likely people who simply dislike everything about the social movements of the 1960s in which Hayden was so deeply immersed.But for those who still believe in fighting for what is right, and care about Ireland, Irish On The Inside will be a refreshing read that will have an impact. ... Read more

    Isbn: 1859846165
    Sales Rank: 583261
    Subjects:  1. Biography    2. Cultural assimilation    3. Elements In The U.S. Population    4. Emigration & Immigration    5. Ethnic Studies - General    6. Ethnic identity    7. Hayden, Tom    8. Irish Americans    9. Minority Studies - Ethnic American    10. Multicultural Nonfiction    11. Social Science    12. Sociology    13. Journeys    14. Northern Ireland   


    The Irish Americans: The Immigrant Experience
    by William D. Griffin
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (30 May, 2001)
    list price: $60.00 -- our price: $60.00
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Must for Your Coffee Table!
    If you are of Irish descent (and are proud of it) and live in America, you should own and proudly dislay a copy of this book.It is a beautiful pictoral presentation of how the Irish immigrated, integrated, and adjusted to life in this country.

    By a quirk of fate I can be found in the two page picture of the Murphy family reunion of 1988 on pages 188 and 189.

    W.A. Murphy--10/07/00 ... Read more

    Isbn: 088363337X
    Sales Rank: 374981
    Subjects:  1. Emigration & Immigration    2. Ethnology    3. Irish Americans    4. Social Science   


    How the Irish Became White
    by Noel Ignatiev
    Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 September, 1996)
    list price: $19.99 -- our price: $13.59
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    Reviews (24)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Enlightening and easy to read
    I don't understand some of the negative critiques listed by other readers (or who I presume read the book, it's hard to tell). I recently read the book and heard a speech by Mr. Ignatiev and the label of "racist" doesn't apply. Pointing out how 'whiteness' became a major part of the Irish-American identity and a method of securing a better place for themselves in America vis-à-vis free Blacks and slaves, he introduces a very useful analytical tool for looking at labor, politics, and immigration in the U.S. The hardships of the Irish aren't glossed over and neither are the consequences of their support of slavery and race-based politics - a choice that many other groups have seemingly made in coming to the United States.

    Most importantly, this book helps us to see how much we take for granted the social construction of ‘whiteness.’ The reviewer who commented that the Irish were already white might not have paid close attention to the history of Catholic Irish in Ireland (especially Ulster). They were treated as a distinct race and this oppression is depicted concisely, but effectively, in "How the Irish Became White."

    Overall, it is a well-written history book that promotes serious thinking.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Why shoot the messenger?
    Wow. When the best argument your reviewers can come up with for disliking your book are "[the author] is a Jew" and "blacks weren't discriminated against [even at the time covered in the book, during which black people could legally be bought and sold in the South, disenfranchised and barred from most jobs in the North; apparently being legally defined as property doesn't qualify as discrimination], the Irish just worked harder," you know you've struck a nerve.

    As a Canadian of Scots-Irish ancestry, I found this book fascinating. The history of the Irish in Canada is a bit different from the history of the American Irish; overall I'd say it's less painful. This book shed a lot of light on issues that I didn't expect it to touch, like black-white relations, abolitionism, and the contrast between the antebellum North and South (now I understand a little better why Southerners say they have been unfairly demonized; the Philadelphia and Boston described in the book were hardly freemen's paradise).

    When the author says he wants to get rid of the "white race," he doesn't mean that he wants to get rid of white PEOPLE; he means that he wants to get rid of the category, "white," which is neither traditional nor especially meaningful. (I note that the reviewer below refers to the pale-skinned author of the book as "a Jew" rather than as "white" - demonstrating the author's point about race quite handily. "White" clearly refers to something beyond skin colour.) What the author is trying to point out is that blacks were enslaved before the theory of white supremacy came about; people with white skin (in this case the Irish) were not necessarily treated or regarded as "white" automatically; white isn't just a colour, it's a social position that the Irish had to struggle very hard to get, and which was more or less defined by separation from the people who could NOT get that position no matter how hard they tried, i.e. blacks.

    I do not see this book as an attempt to smear or blame the Irish.It's not really about the Irish so much as it's a study of American immigration and assimilation to racial ideals, using the Irish as an example.Others could tell and have told similar stories about the Italians, the Jews, etc.In an atmosphere of scarcity, disorder, and brutal competition, people do what they need to do to get by. When there is an upper class and an underclass, people will do their damnedest to get into the upper class, or at least not to fall in with the underclass - this is a matter of survival as well as pride. It's sad to read about disadvantaged people fighting over scraps; it would be nicer to read that blacks and poor immigrants had banded together to fight for freedom, more rights, better pay and working conditions, etc. - but if this is not what happened, it's not Noel Ignatiev's fault, is it?

    I would have liked to see a few more chapters - the book ends rather abruptly around the time of Reconstruction, and clearly the assimilation of the Irish into "white" society was not finished at that point. I also think a few of the earlier chapters are a bit unfocussed, but I may just need to re-read.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Perhaps, there's something ELSE to be learned...
    The Irish starved in Ireland, the Irish worked (and starved) in our coal mines, they served in our Civil War and yet, through decades of opression in the United States, they were still able to find a way to make life more comfortable for this generation. How? Good old-fashioned hard work (for the most part. Molly Maguires don't count). There's no conspiracy against the blacks or Hispanics. The Irish were poor, looking for jobs, got jobs (the lowest paying ones at that), found opportunities and ran with them. That's all there is to it and I don't see how it can be interpreted as anything but a triumph over poverty. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0415918251
    Sales Rank: 130208
    Subjects:  1. African Americans    2. Cultural assimilation    3. Europe - Ireland    4. General    5. History    6. History: World    7. Irish Americans    8. Politics and government    9. Race And Ethnic Relations    10. Relations with Irish Americans    11. Sociology    12. United States - General    13. American history    14. Cultural studies    15. Multicultural studies    16. Social issues    17. USA   


    The Great Shame : And the Triumph of the Irish in the English-Speaking World
    by Thomas Keneally
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (12 September, 2000)
    list price: $18.00 -- our price: $12.60
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    Editorial Review

    The Booker Prize-winningSchindler's List (on which Steven Spielberg based his Oscar-winning film) demonstrated that Thomas Keneally could make history as compelling as any novel. His latest book, The Great Shame, expands upon the achievement of his earlier fiction. This is more than just the story of the Keneally family tree, transported from Ireland to Australia in the 19th-century. It is the story of how Irish men and women came to be dispersed all over the world, and what they made of their lives in their new homes. It is the epic history of a whole people.

    The Great Shame is hypnotically readable, partly because Keneally weaves his many narrative strands so expertly and touches his story with many moments of beautiful writing, but also because it is all, even at its most extraordinary, completely true. The result is astonishingly vivid. What The Great Shame most resembles is a classic 19th-century novel: Dickens, say, or George Eliot. Readers avidly follow Keneally's characters through their successes and their trials, until the very last sentence in the book when, like a master from the classic age of the novel, Keneally pays tribute to "the piquant blood and potent ghosts of the characters to whom we now bid goodbye." --Adam Roberts ... Read more

    Reviews (17)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Irish Are survivors
    Keneally's book will be a classic.He has captured the Irish Diaspora as none could do better.This is a huge story covering time,places, politics,love,hate,family,oppression,wars,peace;but through it all the determination of a race to survive.
    Keneally writes so well that he makes it seem that he was right there all the time and that you are travelling right along with him.
    Even the Irish ,however you want to define what is Irish,will find that the spread and influence of the Irish is far greater than ever realized.
    After so many other's attempts it took an Australian of Keneally's stature to write the story so well.
    So many resort to fiction to tell a story,but Keneally tells the story magnificently and does it with facts.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Long, detailed, and worthwhile
    Thomas Keneally's The Great Shame was very well documented and extremely detailed and vivid but twice as long as many contemporary histories (605 pages of text). A commitment is needed to follow the story of the Ribbonmen, Fenians and the Young Ireland Movement; the trial of William Smith O'Brien; the deportation of political prisoners to Australia; the amazing story of General Thomas Meagher of the US Union army; and the sad story of John Michell, a Confederate.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Read
    Thomas Keneally looks into his own family history, and ends up setting forth the fascinating story of Young Ireland, one of the most neglected periods of Irish history.With his great eye for detail and beautiful imagery, Keneally relates the story of such Irish legends as William Smith O'Brien, Thomas Meagher and John Mitchel."The Great Shame" brings the lives of these and the other Irish legends of the time to vivid life, following them from their roots in Ireland, to their exile in Van Diemen's Land, and culminating in their glorious rebirth in Civil War America.Read this book! ... Read more

    Isbn: 0385720262
    Subjects:  1. 19th century    2. 20th century    3. Civilization, Modern    4. English-speaking countries    5. Europe - Ireland    6. History    7. History - General History    8. History: World    9. Irish    10. Irish influences    11. History / Ireland   


    Making Sense of the Molly Maguires
    by Kevin Kenny
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 February, 1998)
    list price: $23.95 -- our price: $23.95
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    Reviews (9)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Full consideration of a complex historical event
    Kenny digs into the broader social and historical forces that operated in the Irish coal miners and the community in which they found themselves. The events under review are themselves shocking. Like the 9/11 attacks, they seem almost incomprehensible because of their violence and the drama surrounding the events. The Molly Maguries were more than simple killers -- the women's clothing, for example, is a clue that something beyond a simple murder. Kenny gives his explanation of WHY events unfolded as they did.
    Kenny has a scholarly point to make and academic readers will be rewarded with Kenny's solid analysis. This is a serious work on a serious subject. It is well worth a bit of intellectual effort. It also makes a fine addition to the reading list of an upper level undergraduate or graduate history course. However, the general reader with an interest in Irish-American history, labor history, and/or European immigrant history will also find this book interesting and informative.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Kenny really did his homework
    His explanation of the beginning of the union and the people it involved was very clear.There were a lot of details on the exploitation of mineworkers of that era. This is a one the best on the subject.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Secret Societies Knee-Deep in Coal Dust
    One of the better interpretations of this turbulant era in the coal belt. Kevin Kenny explores the complicated society relationships and both factual and circumstantial evidence that led to the the conviction of some of the ringleaders.Unlike the 1970 movie "The Molly MacGuires," this book assures the reader that series of violent events over a number of years was no simple story to tell.The subsequent convictions of some of the coal miner leaders was hotly contested in its day.Add this book to your collection if you are a student of 1800's Pennsylvania or the treatment of Irish immigrant miners during the period of the Molly MacGuires. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0195116313
    Sales Rank: 263232
    Subjects:  1. Coal miners    2. Europe - Ireland    3. General    4. History    5. History - General History    6. History: American    7. Irish Americans    8. Molly Maguires    9. Pennsylvania    10. United States - 19th Century    11. American history: c 1800 to c 1900    12. British & Irish history: c 1700 to c 1900    13. Ireland    14. Social history    15. USA    16. c 1800 to c 1900   


    The Famine Ships: The Irish Exodus to America
    by Edward Laxton
    Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 February, 1998)
    list price: $16.00 -- our price: $11.20
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    Reviews (11)

    4-0 out of 5 stars The message is what matters?
    I make no apologies for the structural defects of this book, nor do I mean to suggest they should be ignored. They deserve criticism. Grammatical errors and poor editing are never welcome, however with History a factualmistake or contradiction is at best never acceptable, and at its worst cancause credibility to be questioned. I still recommend this book as theerrors do not negate the events that took place, and as frustrating as theymay be, they do not detract from the horror that was The Famine, nor theconduct of those involved. That the book did not gain a wider audience,possibly because of these faults is sad.

    Ireland has been fertile groundfor reprehensible behavior by England for over 700 years. Ireland too, attimes has committed acts of violence via a variety of Catholic andProtestant groups. The dead, wounded, and the mutilated are all that eitherside has gained. The hatred exists to this day, and while violence has beencalmer of late, a great period of time must pass before memories fade andforgiveness is accepted for apologies offered.

    Prior to the ships in thisbook becoming "Famine Ships" many plied another trade as "Slave Ships", itis true that there were structural changes made, but beyond a certain pointconditions become inhuman, period. The Potato Blight is often the only, orthe primary reason given for the mass immigration that devastated theisland. The truth is always more complex, it is no different here.

    Whilestarvation was rampant the food that was available, food grown right therenext to those that were starving was exported to England. The EnglishLandowners often paid for the cost of passage on these ships where so manydied. These ships did carry the victims of Famine like they had carried thevictims of slavery before. Transportation was almost secondary, how can itbe anything else when conditions are created that are deadly by definition.It was cheaper to pay for transit than keep people alive on their ancestralland. And if they left they no longer had any use for land, so it wasbought and accumulated by the same individuals that often paid for itsowner's permanent eviction.

    Ireland today is experiencing the return ofsome of the descendants of those that made that terrifying crossing. As anation it has become one of the most prosperous in Europe by many economicstandards, but that is not enough. Tolerance is not good enough, nor areplans of peace that neither party believes in their heart to be fair. Itwould be pleasant to site examples of hatred hardened by centuries of painthat have been put aside and new beginnings made. Perhaps the newfoundeconomic health will help the process, perhaps not.

    I hope for those wholive there, be they Catholic or Protestant, that a way is found in acomparatively brief span of time to pause, heal, for apologies to be made,and accepted.

    1-0 out of 5 stars One book badly in need of an editor
    This may be the most disorganized book I have ever read, and it contains numerous factual errors to boot, a kiss of death for a supposed history book.The vignettes come at you with no apparent thought about how oneinter-relates with another.It is just a jumbled mess of repetitiousincidents randomly presented.A simple solution would have been to buildeach chapter around a port of emigration.As for factual errors, how aboutthe Titanic sailing on its maiden voyage from New York City.Or, on onepage you are told a ship sank but most of its 200 passengers survived.Onthe next page you are told that most died.And there is no furtherexplanation or clarification given.Dates of events are given as one yearin the book, and pages later as another year.The book is published byreputable Henry Holt.Boy, they were totally asleep on this one.Even ifthere are some interesting facts given, how can you trust them in the faceof all the errors.If you like watching movies to find the mistakes - likePlane 9 From Outer Space -- then this book is for you.All otherpotential readers, beware.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Sadly, this book never fulfilled its promise.
    Written in a pedestrian style it meanders from one point to another making difficult reading.The book lacks progression; points are presented without foundation or connection to any proceeding or subsequent text.Ina final analysis it reads like a middle-schooler's book report: occasionfact smothered in disconnected filler.The combination results in thetrivialization of the book's message. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0805058443
    Sales Rank: 209687
    Subjects:  1. 19th century    2. Europe - Ireland    3. Famines    4. History    5. History - General History    6. History: World    7. Immigrants    8. Ireland    9. Irish Americans    10. Minority Studies - Ethnic American    11. United States    12. United States - 19th Century/Gilded Age    13. United States - Antebellum Era   


    The Voyage of the Catalpa: A Perilous Journey and Six Irish Rebels' Escape to Freedom
    by Peter F. Stevens
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (12 March, 2002)
    list price: $26.00 -- our price: $26.00
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent piece of history
    This unknown history at it's finest. The reseach was outstanding done by Stevens. It's the perfect match adventure and history this did really occur as hard as it is to believe. If your interested in Irish/Australian/American History it is a must read.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Keelhaul the nautical proof reader!!!!!
    I have read this book with a mixture of interest and annoyance.I was interested in a part of Irish history that I had not read about previously. The author has managed to compile a quantity of factual documentation on this subject.

    My annoyance arises from two main areas;

    1.His �factional� way of writing.Interspersing historical documents with the attributed thoughts and actions of his subjects. While I agree that it is the authors choice how he tells the story, his stereotypical approach of �Cruel Britannia� versus the �Noble Irish� gets a little tiresome after a while.Irish history (like most history) varies considerably depending on who does the telling. The �Irish Question� is seldom black or white, a fact that has been discovered by several generations of US presidents.(I say this as an Irishman and a Nationalist).

    2.An area where I am more qualified to comment is in his writing about the seagoing element of the story.If Mr. Stevens has a nautical proof reader he/she should be keelhauled.Some of the howlers are as follows;

    Sailors raced up the ratlines to sheaf the ship�s sails (p. 52) �Sailors reef sails.

    From the quarterdeck, a sailor called out �twelve bells� (p.71). � No, NO, NOOO, bells are rung (on a bell � duh), and the highest number is EIGHT.12 midnight is 8 BELLS.

    � asked if he might see the ship�s chronometer and learn how one used its winding key to arrive at the ships position. (p.199)


    , took out his new chronometer, wound the key, and read --- ninety miles away (p. 232). � �Mother of the Devine!!!!!!!!!�� Mr. Stevens is mixing a Sextant with a Chronometer � A chronometer is a CLOCK.A sextant is used to measure angles � e.g. stars, sun, mountains etc.By combining an accurate CLOCK and a sextant angle of a heavenly body, using tables you can plot a ships position.

    The first cry of �Ah!Blows!� rang out (p.220) � If a whaler cried out this he would be harpooned.The cry is �Thar she blows�

    "greasy luck" was the standard whalers cry, not �greasy voyage�

    This is only a small sample of the errors in the nautical side of this book.I can only assume similar carelessness in other areas.As a result Mr. Stevens gets a 2 star rating. ... Read more

    Isbn: 078670974X
    Sales Rank: 613456
    Subjects:  1. 19th century    2. Australia    3. Australia & New Zealand - Australia    4. Escapes    5. Europe - Ireland    6. Fremantle (W.A.)    7. History    8. History - Military / War    9. History: World    10. Ireland    11. Political prisoners   


    Real Lace (Irish Studies)
    by Stephen Birmingham
    Paperback (01 September, 1997)
    list price: $19.95 -- our price: $13.57
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    Isbn: 0815605099
    Sales Rank: 704380
    Subjects:  1. Biography    2. Elements In The U.S. Population    3. Ethnic Cultures - General    4. Fiction    5. History    6. History - General History    7. Irish Americans    8. Minority Studies - Ethnic American    9. Rich people    10. Social History    11. Social life and customs    12. United States    13. United States - General    14. Upper class   


    American Catholic : The Saints and Sinners Who Built America's Most Powerful Church
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (27 October, 1998)
    list price: $16.00 -- our price: $10.88
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    Reviews (22)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating for predictions about Benedict XVI too!
    I put down this book the night before the papal election, exactly at the point where Morris discusses how Ratzinger actually put the rein on some of John Paul II's more forceful moves towards declaring statements blocking women's ordination as infallible; carefully nuanced exegesis by Morris reveals very subtle but nonetheless wiggle room for future movement away from some of the last pope's more dogmatic pronouncements. He fits this into a battle between cardinals and the episcopate promoting a collegial right to establish doctrine based on their accumulated experience as part of the Church's magisterium against the centralisation of papal power. This data which may indicate the new pope's ability to create flexibility despite what on surface may appear to the casual observer only more rigidity, buried inside a footnote on pg. 349, is typical of the wealth of detail--you must read the extensive endnotes as well as the text proper to appreciate how thorough has been the author's research--found in this popular yet scholarly treatment of the Church from about the mid-19 c to the late 1990s.

    In retrospect, some of the concerns Morris finds diminishing in his 1997 study have only increased, such as the pedophilia (or more often adolescent boys rather than pre-teens with priests, Morris and many critics parse) scandals that grew more prominent rather than less so in the beginning of the current decade. Vocations appear to keep tumbling at least in the West; non-compliance with Catholic teaching by the rank-and-file grows in the American segment due to democratic tendencies constantly eroding the earlier, pre-assimilationist culture that codified American Catholicism mid-20 c. These tendencies, as Morris shows, created tension from the later 19 c onward, and the battles with Rome by the U.S. bishops are far from new. Also, the role of the Hispanic church seems, despite many references, to be diminished (perhaps reflecting an East Coast orientation naturally taken for the majority of the narrative). As a related correction, St Thomas the Apostle parish in L.A. is not on its Eastside--typical of Morris's scholarship, this was a rare mistake in an admirably solid resource that taught me an enormous amount about everything from John Stuart Mill's liberalism to moral theology to John Ireland's far-reaching impact upon the course of the national Church. However, I was disappointed to find that two sources that would've aided Morris' often moving depiction of life in the triumphal, dogmatic, and secure mid-20c decades were absent from his notes: Garry Wills' "Bare Ruined Choirs," and Jubilee Magazine, a forerunner of the liturgical and cultural renaissance that the post-Vatican II era either expanded or truncated.

    When describing how Fulton Sheen lectured, how the old Mass flowed, or how theologians battle it out over birth control, Morris never loses sight of the telling quote to illuminate larger issues. His discussion of subsidiarity and how polarised opposites Dorothy Day and Fr Coughlin could argue from this same basis of natural law and social justice doctrine fascinated me! From the Irish famine to Americanist vs. separatist controversies, through the dispersal of urban ethnics into suburbia, the connection between sex and rural ethos in traditional Catholicism, to current dichotomies in various dioceses in a time of fewer priests and more lay people running parishes, Morris is excellent. He's fair to all sides, although he shows a bit of bias against the hardest right-wing and left-wing factions both. His model is one of adaptation without dilution, certainly a challenge for such a vast institution on the one hand suffering losses to not only non-practicing millions but evangelical sects, on the other struggling to avoid the fate of mainstream Protestantism, which has, according to Morris, seemingly lost its moral and cultural clout in today's nation. Although on the Americanist controversy and the labor movement in the mid 20c, he bogs down in too much detail, at other moments, as in his travels in late-20c American parishes, his mastery of minutiae to explain big issues winningly works well.

    As he warns, the tug of secularism--whatever one's view on the current state of Catholicism--presents a warning to those who want the Church to adjust totally to its surroundings. He takes heed of the fate of Episcopalians--fewer in all of America than Catholics in Los Angeles: "Once a religion assimilates to the culture, it almost invariably diminishes into a social center or a low-cost therapy program." (411)

    4-0 out of 5 stars An excellent view of the Church in America
    I greatly enjoyed this well-written history of American Catholicism. The earliest chapters, primarily about the influx of Irish immigrants (and the reasons behind it) were particularly fascinating.

    However, this book primarily focuses on America from the Victorian age on. There is almost no discussion of Catholicism in the colonial period (the founding of Maryland, the denial of rights to Catholics, etc.), which I feel should have been included.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding and Objective Assessment of American Catholicism
    This is the best book on American Catholicism I have ever read. It objectively looks at the good, bad and ugly in a way few have ever done. There's a lot of warts in this book, but there also is wonderful anecdotes about our shared Catholic faith and how it evolved into what it is today!

    This book told me as much about who I was, where I come from and where I am going as a Catholic as anything I've ever read. I could not put the book down and read it over and over again for the sheer joy of reading. I'm afraid I might have missed something.

    The story about Dennis Cardinal Dougherty, Philadelphia's long-time Archbishop, was worth the price of admission alone. The author's story about how Cardinal Doughtery dealt with racial prejudice was compelling as was the anecdotes about the Cardinal's ego, his need to curry favor with ROme and his eccentricities. And the book provides a marvelous look at William Cardinal O'Connell of Boston, alias "Gangplank Bill," for his wintering in warm tropical locales. You sometimes wonder when the next Martin Luther would evolve after reading some of this story.

    But this is just part of the story.

    The assessment this book brings to contemporary conservative Catholicism was eye-opening. Those who are liberal Catholics might gag at what the book describes as happening in Lincoln, NE, but the story is real and the results quantified and quite positive. The book has considerable advice for the future and talks glowingly of how some Bishops due what we in corporate America have done for years, evaluate priestly sermons, rate them and recommend ways to better reach congregants.

    Trust me, this book is not on Pope John Paul II's reading list. But is should be! The Pope could better minister to us and be a much better representative of Christ if he read it and understood who and what we are in America. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0679742212
    Sales Rank: 156549
    Subjects:  1. 19th century    2. 20th century    3. Catholic Church    4. Christianity - Catholicism    5. Christianity - History - Catholic    6. Christianity - History - General    7. Church history    8. History    9. Religion    10. Religion - Roman Catholic    11. United States    12. United States - General    13. History / United States / General   


    The Boston Irish : A Political History
    by Thomas H. O'Connor
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 March, 1997)
    list price: $21.99 -- our price: $21.99
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Book
    I grew up in Boston in the 40's and 50's, Roxbury actually.I left in 1959 when I was 19.I view it as having escaped.The neighborhood was virtually all Irish Catholic.

    My parents, while not active in party politics were very politically conscious.There political philosophy was quite simple.Roosevelt's Democrats walked on water; the Republicans were for the rich and against the poor (we, of course, were poor).To this day, over 43 years after leaving their house, I have a bit of trouble pulling the lever for a Republican candidate.

    As I grew older I realized that their philosophy, which was generally shared by all in the neighborhood, created problems such as complacency and corruption.In our neighborhood the Boston police from Station # 9 made no effort to conceal what they were doing while they picked up their payoffs from the many bookie joints along Dudley Street.Whenever the state investigated a corrupt official or the very corrupt Boston Police Dept. my mother would say that it was just the Republicans taking their revenge on good Irish Catholics.Somehow she always knew that these good Irish Catholics went to mass every morning.The corruption and incompetence in front of her made no difference in her thinking.

    Professor O'Connor's book helped me understand how my parents came to develop these political attitudes.Much of what he talked about still existed in the Boston Irish neighborhoods while I was growing up.I suspect to some extent it still does.I just finished reading "All Souls: A Family Story From Southie" by Michael Patrick McDonald.This is a very sad story which shows just how much the Irish Catholic's in South Boston have allowed their communities to degrade and allowed themselves to be snowed by their own Irish Catholic politicians.

    If you have any interest in Boston political history or Irish American history you will love this book.I'm sure that the history of the Irish in Boston is similar to the Irish in most major US cities.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and captivating account of the Boston Irish
    From their persecution and famine in their homeland, to their struggles at survival in America, this book traces the history of Boston's largest and most vocal inhabitants.O'Connor does a remarkable job in tracing the numerous stuggles the Boston Irish faced, and how it shaped their attitudes today.The book is loaded with anecdotes and tales from of Boston more famous characters: from James Michael Curley to Bill Flynn.The book, by detailing the Irish political machines at the turn of the century, provides us with the mindset that has controlled Bostonpolitics for over a century.Entertaining throughout, it is scary how much about Boston and its politics one can learn. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0316626619
    Sales Rank: 263876
    Subjects:  1. Ethnic Studies - General    2. History & Theory - General    3. History - General History    4. Minority Studies - Ethnic American    5. Social Science    6. Sociology    7. United States - State & Local - General   


    The New Irish Americans
    by Ray O'Hanlon
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (25 April, 1998)
    list price: $15.95 -- our price: $15.95
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A "must have" for anyone with Irish-American connections.
    This book shows incredible insight into the new era of Irish emigrants.It is very well written by the author who obviously has first hand experience of this exciting new generation of Irish in America. These people are there under such different circumstances to some of our ancestors. A great book and I love the cover. ... Read more

    Isbn: 1568332106
    Sales Rank: 1921501
    Subjects:  1. Ethnic Studies - General    2. History: World    3. Minority Studies - Ethnic American    4. Social Science    5. Sociology    6. United States - General    7. Ethnic studies    8. Ireland    9. POLITICS & GOVERNMENT    10. USA   


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