Making the Irish American: History and Heritage of the Irish in the United States

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Overview

Featuring 29 classic and original essays on the turbulent, vital, and fascinating story of the Irish in America. The contributors include Linda Dowling Almeida, Margaret Lynch-Brennan, Marion R. Casey, David Noel Doyle, Pete Hamill, Kevin Kenny, Rebecca S. Miller, Mick Moloney, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Peter Quinn, and Calvin Trillin.

All it takes is one St. Patrick's Day in the United States to realize that the Irish did not dissolve into the melting pot, they took possession of it. Few other immigrant peoples have exerted such pervasive influence, have left so deep an impression, have made their values and concerns so central to the destiny of their new country.

In Making the Irish American, J.J. Lee and Marion R. Casey offer a feast of twenty-nine perspectives on the turbulent, vital, endlessly fascinating story of the Irish in America. Combining original research with reprints of classic works, these essays and articles extend far beyond a survey to offer a truly rich understanding of the Irish immigrant impact on America, and America’s impact on the Irish immigrant.

Here the reader will find a brisk, compact history of Ireland itself, and a wide-ranging critique of Irish American historiography, as well as explorations of the multiple complications of religion, reflected in the fluctuating, and sometimes tempestuous, relations between Catholic and Protestant Irish and Scotch-Irish. The authors explore the various channels through which the Irish, men and women, have made their mark, from politics to labor organization, from domestic service to popular and traditional music, from sport to step dancing.

Classic reprints include Daniel Patrick Moynihan's study of the Irish in New York, Pete Hamill’s memoir of President Kennedy—recollecting the responses around him in Belfast at the time of the assassination—Calvin Trillin's New Yorker profile of Judge James J. Comerford, long the iron-handed boss of New York's St. Patrick's Day parade, and Peter Quinn's meditations on the essence of Irish America, past, present and future. They all offer sparkling insights into the evolving tension between becoming American and becoming Irish American.

Making the Irish American is monumental in the best sense—serious but accessible, wide-ranging and far-reaching and enriched by seventy unique illustrations. This exciting and challenging collection belongs on the bookshelf of everyone interested in not only the Irish American, but the American story, of which they form so vivid and prominent a part.

Copublished with the Glucksman Ireland House of New York University.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“From the double-meaning of its title to its roster of impressive contributors, Making the Irish American is destined for the bookshelves of all readers who aim to keep up on Irish-American history.”
-Irish America

“Blends original research with reprints of classic analyses making for a thoughtful set of essays and articles which survey Irish-American history in context of the overall immigrant experience.”
-The Midwest Book Review

“This lavish compendium looks at the Irish and America from a variety of perspectives.”
-USA Today

“This extremely thorough, thoughtful volume covers all the Irish bases up to the present.”
-Publishers Weekly

“For anyone with the slightest interest in the history of Irish immigrants in America, Lee and Casey's book is a wonderful foundation on which to build a knowledge base.”
-Northeast Book Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This massive volume, copublished with Glucksman Ireland House at NYU, covers the Americanization of the Irish in 29 chapters. Eileen Reilly takes a comprehensive, albeit sanitized, look at the history of Ireland up to the present, covering everything from famine to the Good Friday accords. One thing that stands out is the remarkable misogynistic burden that Eamon DeValera's policies placed on Irish women (a married woman could not teach, and the government seemed to have a vested interest in her sexual habits, even through the 1980s). As the Irish inundated America during the Great Famine, we see them crawl up the ladder of success with the help of the "Ubiquitous Bridget," the indispensable Irish maids whose work spanned two centuries. Novelist Peter Quinn looks at "Irish progress from Paddies to Pats." The importance of labor unions in the rise of the Irish into the middle class is documented, as well as how, through battle in two world wars, the Irish finally earned their acceptance as nonhyphenated Americans, capped off by John F. Kennedy's election as president in 1960. This extremely thorough, thoughtful volume covers all the Irish bases up to the present. 70 illus. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814752180
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 733
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

J.J. Lee is Director of Glucksman Ireland House, Glucksman Professor of Irish Studies, and professor of history, at New York University. He is the author of the award-winning Ireland 1912-1985: Politics and Society.

Marion R. Casey is assistant professor, Glucksman Ireland House, New York University, and co-editor of The Irish Experience in New York City.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgments
The Irish Background
Conflicts of Identity
Popular Expressions of Identity
Reflections
Appendix: The Irish in the U.S. Census: An Explanatory Note
Contributors
Permissions
Index

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