The Famine Plot: England's Role in Ireland's Greatest Tragedy [NOOK Book]

Overview


During a Biblical seven years in the middle of the nineteenth century, Ireland experienced the worst disaster a nation could suffer. Fully a quarter of its citizens either perished from starvation or emigrated, with so many dying en route that it was said, "you can walk dry shod to America on their bodies." In this grand, sweeping narrative, Ireland''s best-known historian, Tim Pat Coogan, gives a fresh and comprehensive account of one of the darkest chapters in world history, arguing that Britain was in large ...
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The Famine Plot: England's Role in Ireland's Greatest Tragedy

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Overview


During a Biblical seven years in the middle of the nineteenth century, Ireland experienced the worst disaster a nation could suffer. Fully a quarter of its citizens either perished from starvation or emigrated, with so many dying en route that it was said, "you can walk dry shod to America on their bodies." In this grand, sweeping narrative, Ireland''s best-known historian, Tim Pat Coogan, gives a fresh and comprehensive account of one of the darkest chapters in world history, arguing that Britain was in large part responsible for the extent of the national tragedy, and in fact engineered the food shortage in one of the earliest cases of ethnic cleansing. So strong was anti-Irish sentiment in the mainland that the English parliament referred to the famine as "God's lesson."

Drawing on recently uncovered sources, and with the sharp eye of a seasoned historian, Coogan delivers fresh insights into the famine's causes, recounts its unspeakable events, and delves into the legacy of the "famine mentality" that followed immigrants across the Atlantic to the shores of the United States and had lasting effects on the population left behind. This is a broad, magisterial history of a tragedy that shook the nineteenth century and still impacts the worldwide Irish diaspora of nearly 80 million people today.





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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Peter Behrens
[Coogan] sounds like the witness who saw the crime…[his] pages spark and sputter with a deep, lingering, well-cherished rage at the British government and laissez-faire attitudes and policies adopted by Prime Minister Lord John Russell and civil servant Sir Charles Trevelyan.
From the Publisher
“Many intriguing points [are] made in this book…Coogan’s pages spark and sputter with a deep, lingering, well-cherished rage.”Peter Behrens, The Washington Post

“To many, Mr. Coogan… [is the] voice of modern Irish history… makes a compelling case for why we should revisit our current understanding of [the famine].” –The Economist

“Coogan’s insistent examining of the moral dimensions of that nation’s policies, and how they fueled the horrors on the ground, represents his greatest contribution to the voluminous scholarship on the Irish famine, and is this book’s greatest strength.”—The Boston Globe

“In disturbingly graphic images and compelling language based on true stories from the Famine archives and peppered with his own perspective, Coogan captures the utter devastation wrought by Ireland’s greatest ecological disaster which reduced the population by one fourth.”—Irish Edition

 

“The best part is that it did such a good job at keeping me interested that I'm eager to read on and learn more.”—Fingers and Prose

"Coogan makes no bones about accusing the government of the day of "a genocidal intent" ... His writing on Ireland's past is intelligent and accessible to a large readership." — BBC History Magazine  

Library Journal
Coogan (former editor, Irish Press; The IRA) is known for his colorful, anecdotal histories with a strong bias in favor of the Irish and against the English. His previous work has found a place in the canon by presenting original narratives from event participants connected to the IRA or to the Irish political scene, but here, he reproduces the same famine history told dozens of times since the mid-19th century. The book is a rehash of work done by other historians, such as Cecil Woodham-Smith (The Great Hunger) as well as his own previous work (Wherever Green Is Worn). He adds in his own family stories and observations of the current Irish situation to make the book seem fresh and relevant. VERDICT Readers who enjoyed Coogan's earlier, better work or those with a particular interest in the famine may wish to read this for the sake of completeness. Others would be well advised to skip it in favor of Woodham-Smith's work or Christine Kinealy's A Death-Dealing Famine.—Hanna Clutterbuck, Harvard Univ. Medical Sch. Lib., Boston
Kirkus Reviews
Acclaimed Irish historian Coogan (Ireland in the Twentieth Century, 2004, etc.) opens up the truth about the Irish potato famine, and it's uglier than you thought. The potato was not just the staple of the poor Irish diet; it was all they had. For seven years beginning in 1845, Phytophthora infestans wreaked havoc on the potato crop in Ireland. Prime Minister Robert Peel made some effort to assuage the problem, however misguided, allowing the purchase of Indian maize from America, which the Irish couldn't properly grind and which made them sick. Coogan points out the many other problems to English aid--e.g., to obtain relief, you had to sign over your land, many soup kitchens would only give soup to those who converted to Protestantism, and no relief could be given outside the workhouse. Evictions, emigration and a policy of laissez faire were the British answers to the crisis. The author is hellbent on setting the record straight. He boldly condemns Irish historians, most educated by the English, who downplayed the horror and evaded the issue of British decision-makers' responsibility. They completely ignored the hate creation of the English press and the landlords who despised the human misery along the roadsides and in the filthy workhouses. The admission by Prime Minister Tony Blair of the failure of the English government to support a country that was part of the richest and most powerful nation in the world has set a good beginning to get at the truth. The Irish grew up with tales of the Great Hunger, but the full story is just now unfolding. This book is a great start.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781137045171
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/27/2012
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 122,313
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author


Tim Pat Coogan is Ireland's best known historian and the author of numerous important works on Irish history, including Michael Collins and The IRA, published to wide acclaim. The former editor of The Irish Press, he lives in Dublin, Ireland.


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Chronology of the Famine ix

Introduction 1

1 Setting the Scene 9

2 Born to Filth 19

3 A Million Deaths of No Use 31

4 Five Actors and the Orchards of Hell 43

5 Meal Use 65

6 Evictions 87

7 The Work Schemes 101

8 The Workhouse 117

9 Soup and Souperism 137

10 The Poor Law Cometh 163

11 Landlords Targeted 179

12 Emigration: Escape by Coffin Ship 189

13 The Propaganda of Famine 213

Epilogue 233

Appendix 1 236

Appendix 2 247

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 12, 2012

    i believe this book to be one of the most revealing historical r

    i believe this book to be one of the most revealing historical reports of english criminality carried out by a race of people who hated the Irish because they would not crumble under the vicious and frequent attempts to bring a proud race of people to its knees.over the centuries the english tried (with some success) to obliterate the Irish nation and make it totally subservient to the crown. Mr. de Valera's answer to Churchill's snide goading of the Irish post World War ll is probably as succinct an answer as you will find remind the warmongers of their ongoing roguery. Niall Quaid

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted February 8, 2013

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