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Children's LiteratureA history of Ireland sets the stage for the story of Irish migration to America. It begins with the country's ancient roots, then refers to the fact that Henry VIII and Elizabeth I sought to control Ireland because they saw its Roman Catholicism as a threat. Unfortunately the author does not explain that the rulers feared a Catholic Ireland could be used by Spain or France, which were Roman Catholic countries, as a power base against, England. Although that does not justify the harsh treatment of the Irish by the English, at least the information puts the situation in perspective. The large migration to America began after the potato crops failed. The author describes difficulties for the people who left their homeland and how they managed to settle in to their new country. It certainly wasn't easy as the men took jobs as miners or builders of railroads or whatever no one else wanted to do and women became household servants or did other menial tasks to help their families survive. The book tells of their contributions, their assimilation into America, and describes the lives of more than 20 influential Irish-Americans. Sidebars add interesting background information. Many of the evocative photos and illustrations are from primary sources. The book includes maps, a timeline, a glossary, places to visit with Irish ties, source notes, bibliography, further reading, websites and an index. Links to additional information are available on www.inamericabooks.com. 2005, Lerner Publications Company, Ages 10 up.
—Janet Crane Barley