The Famine Ships: The Irish Exodus to America

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Between 1846 and 1851, more than one-million people—the potato famine emigrants—sailed from Ireland to America. Now, 150 years later, The Famine Ships tells of the courage and determination of those who crossed the Atlantic in leaky, overcrowded sailing ships and made new lives for themselves, among them the child Henry Ford and the twenty-six-year-old Patrick Kennedy, great-grandfather of John F. Kennedy. Edward Laxton conducted five years of research in Ireland and interviewed the emigrants' descents in the ...

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Overview

Between 1846 and 1851, more than one-million people—the potato famine emigrants—sailed from Ireland to America. Now, 150 years later, The Famine Ships tells of the courage and determination of those who crossed the Atlantic in leaky, overcrowded sailing ships and made new lives for themselves, among them the child Henry Ford and the twenty-six-year-old Patrick Kennedy, great-grandfather of John F. Kennedy. Edward Laxton conducted five years of research in Ireland and interviewed the emigrants' descents in the U.S. Portraits of people, ships, and towns, as well as facsimile passenger lists and tickets, are among the fascinating memorabilia in The Famine Ships.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The defining moments of Irish history are studded with arrivals (St. Patrick, Oliver Cromwell) and departures (St. Columbanus, James Joyce). In the 1840s the great arrival was the Potato Blight, and the even greater departure was the multitude of ships carrying the nearly one million emigrants escaping the Irish famine to America. In this work, Laxton, a former newspaper editor, narrates the stories of these emigrants as they sailed for the the New World. The work is a fascinating compilation derived from family histories handed down through the generations; it describes both the horrible conditions aboard the ships and the emigrants' boundless optimism concerning the freedom of America. This well-written supplement to the various works on the Irish famine exodus finally draws attention to the people and the ships that defined a moment in Irish and American history.John J. Doherty, Montana State Univ., Bozeman
Frank McLynn
Splendid...written in a fresh and accessible way, which will grip anyone with the most superficial interest in the famine years. -- Frank McLynn, The Irish Times
From the Publisher
"A splendid book, written in a fresh and accessible way, which will grip anyone with the most superficial interest in the Famine years."-Irish Times

"Fascinating . . . finally draws attention to the people and the ships that defined a moment in Irish and American history."-Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805053135
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/1997
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 6.35 (w) x 9.53 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Edward Laxton is of Irish descent. He was the news editor of England's Daily Express and Daily Mirror for nearly thirty years. The Famine Ships is his second book. He lives in England.

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