The Columbia Guide to Irish American History

The Columbia Guide to Irish American History

by Timothy J. Meagher
     
 

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Once seen as threats to mainstream society, Irish Americans have become an integral part of the American story. More than 40 million Americans claim Irish descent, and the culture and traditions of Ireland and Irish Americans have left an indelible mark on U.S. society. Timothy J. Meagher fuses an overview of Irish American history with an analysis of historians'

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Overview

Once seen as threats to mainstream society, Irish Americans have become an integral part of the American story. More than 40 million Americans claim Irish descent, and the culture and traditions of Ireland and Irish Americans have left an indelible mark on U.S. society. Timothy J. Meagher fuses an overview of Irish American history with an analysis of historians' debates, an annotated bibliography, a chronology of critical events, and a glossary discussing crucial individuals, organizations, and dates. He addresses a range of key issues in Irish American history from the first Irish settlements in the seventeenth century through the famine years in the nineteenth century to the volatility of 1960s America and beyond. The result is a definitive guide to understanding the complexities and paradoxes that have defined the Irish American experience.

Throughout the work, Meagher invokes comparisons to Irish experiences in Canada, Britain, and Australia to challenge common perceptions of Irish American history. He examines the shifting patterns of Irish migration, discusses the role of the Catholic church in the Irish immigrant experience, and considers the Irish American influence in U.S. politics and modern urban popular culture.

Meagher pays special attention to Irish American families and the roles of men and women, the emergence of the Irish as a "governing class" in American politics, the paradox of their combination of fervent American patriotism and passionate Irish nationalism, and their complex and sometimes tragic relations with African and Asian Americans.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Meagher (history, Catholic Univ.; Inventing Irish America) begins with a topical history spanning the last 400 years, then looks separately at gender, politics, nationalism, and race, finishing with a chapter in encyclopedia form on important people and events and finally a chronology of Irish America. Given the libraries filled with books on each of these topics, how does he cover them all in 384 pages? By skimming, when necessary. Meagher does fine work summarizing the opposing historical camps still trying to explain the Great Famine and successfully undoes some stereotypes. For example, on how prominent the Irish (a.k.a. Scotch-Irish) were in the American Revolution, Meagher explains how those from one county in Ireland responded differently from those from other counties, and those living in New England reacted differently from those in the South. He describes generations aspiring to power while dealing with the Protestant establishment, and women struggling with Catholic dogma in increasingly modern America. With respect to the encyclopedia component, other titles are more exhaustive, and include photos; yet this book is still well researched. If you want a heroic effort at encapsulating Irish American history, this is your book. A good alternative title for public and academic libraries.-Robert Moore, Bristol-Myers Squibb Medical Imaging, Waltham, MA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
America - Jay P. Dolan

Anyone interested in the history of Irish America will welcome this book.

Midwest Book Review - James A. Cox

The Columbia Guide to Irish American History is a 'must have' for any student, professional or lay person.

American References Books Annual - Agnes H. Widder

Very well done...an excellent starting point for readers new to the topic.

H-Net - Bill Mulligan

A remarkable accomplishment, impressive in both the breadth and depth of its scholarship.

Choice

This book is indispensable for collections on Irish American history and politics... Essential.

America
Anyone interested in the history of Irish America will welcome this book.

— Jay P. Dolan

Irish America Magazine

For those interested in getting a broad overview of Irish American history, pop culture and sociology... an excellent read.

Midwest Book Review
The Columbia Guide to Irish American History is a 'must have' for any student, professional or lay person.

— James A. Cox

American References Books Annual
Very well done...an excellent starting point for readers new to the topic.

— Agnes H. Widder

H-Net
A remarkable accomplishment, impressive in both the breadth and depth of its scholarship.

— Bill Mulligan

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231510707
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
06/01/2010
Series:
Columbia Guides to American History and
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
File size:
1 MB

What People are saying about this

Roy Rosenzweig

This indispensable guide--comprehensive, yet concise; scholarly, yet lively; erudite, yet accessible--will become the first stop for anyone seeking to learn about Irish America, its history, people, and culture. Tim Meagher has long been one of our most astute and subtle commentators on Irish-American history, and he brings his vast knowledge together in this extraordinary volume. Beginners will find it a delightful and invaluable introduction and specialists will treasure it as an essential reference.

David Gerber

Comprehensive in its coverage, and written in a clear and engaging style, this outstanding reference work will be of interest to both the professional scholar and the general reader. In its broad range of topics and the depth of its understanding, The Columbia Guide to Irish American History is an authoritative and indispensable resource for the study of a familiar but little known people who have been at the heart of the American narrative from its colonial inception to the present day.

Colleen McDannell

In this often lyrically written book, Timothy Meagher, tackles the big questions in Irish American history. He not only distills contemporary scholarship and points out disagreements between historians; he evaluates their ideas. The result is a work that challenges stereotypes and common assumptions. Readers will appreciate his straightforward descriptions of theories of ethnicity as well as his vivid reconstructions of how real people lived and worked. With its helpful bibliographic material, this is a 'must buy' for those interested in Ireland and the Irish in America.

Kerby Miller

Tim Meagher has done a superb job, picking and choosing wisely among the dense and tangled data and controversies concerning Irish American history, and has produced an indispensable guide and source book for students and scholars of the history of the Irish (both Catholics and Protestants) in America.

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