The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero

The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero

4.8 5
by Timothy Egan
     
 

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A National Book Award–winning author illuminates the dawn of the great Irish American story, with all its twists and triumphs, through the life of the heroic Thomas Francis Meagher

 

Overview

 
A National Book Award–winning author illuminates the dawn of the great Irish American story, with all its twists and triumphs, through the life of the heroic Thomas Francis Meagher

 

Editorial Reviews

B&N Reads
2/23/2016
There is only one rule when it comes to history: you will never know everything. Try as you might, there will always be huge swaths of unexplored territory and unmet figures who are mysteries to you. The trick to dealing with this inevitability is to accept it, and view it as an opportunity. The undiscovered country of history also means there will always be books out there that can offer you hours of entertainment and education. Timothy Egan’s The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero is one of those books.Read More
The New York Times Book Review - Edward Dolnick
Egan has a gift for sweeping narrative—he moves briskly through the Great Hunger, the open-air prison that was Australia, the Civil War—and he has a journalist's eye for the telltale detail…This is masterly work.
Publishers Weekly
12/14/2015
Those who have heard of Thomas Francis Meagher (1823–1867) will likely know him as a Union general in the Civil War, but Egan (The Big Burn), National Book Award–winner for The Worst Hard Time, moves Meagher convincingly into the ranks of patriots of both the U.S. and Ireland. With novelistic skill, Egan fashions a dizzying tableau of the life of his restless subject. Meagher was an Irish revolutionary who was condemned to death but then exiled to Tasmania. He then escaped to America, where he lived in New York City and became active in Irish-American politics. He was later appointed general of the Union army’s Irish Brigade (which helped knit oft-scorned Irish immigrants into the American fabric) and became a heroic war leader, before becoming lieutenant governor of the Montana Territory. Egan also reexamines evidence about Meagher’s death in Montana, convincingly concluding that he was assassinated by frontier vigilantes resentful of his determination to create the rule of law. As history, Egan’s book is solid; as storytelling, it’s captivating. The work adds little to the broader picture of American history—it focuses on the scenes in which Meagher participated, and those have been exhaustively covered elsewhere—but it provides an impressive biography of a distinctive Irish-American figure, the patriot of two countries, faithful to each to his last. Agent: Carol Mann, Carol Mann Agency. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

“Without a shadow of doubt this is one of the finest Irish-American books ever written….What Egan has done is restore the reputation and uncovered a host of details on a man I would venture to say had no peer in our history of Irish America….Egan’s take on Irish-American history gives this book a breadth and significance that would be very hard to match.” —Niall O’Dowd, Irish America

"This is marvelous stuff. Thomas F. Meagher strides onto Egan's beautifully wrought pages just as he livedpowerfully larger than life. A fascinating account of an extraordinary life." —Daniel James Brown, author of The Boys in the Boat, Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics

"A fascinating, well-told story by an author fully committed to his subject. Egan's impeccable research, uncomplicated readability, and flowing narrative reflect his deep knowledge of a difficult and complex man." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"As history, Egan’s book is solid; as storytelling, it’s captivating . . . An impressive biography." —Publishers Weekly

"Meagher lived life full-tilt, with old-fashioned honor as well as courage and dash, so inspiring Egan that the prose flashes and flares . . . " —Booklist, starred review
 
"Just in time for St. Paddy's Day comes this sensational bio."AARP The Magazine

“Thomas Meagher’s is an irresistible story, irresistibly retold by the virtuosic Timothy Egan . . . The author tells Meagher’s exhilarating story with an Irishman’s flair for the tragic, poetic and dramatic . . . A gripping, novelistic page-turner…. Imperfect but irresistible, Meagher has long deserved a revival and reappraisal. For sure, he has a rousing one now.” -- The Wall Street Journal

“Stirring and magnificent . . . Egan combines deep reporting with masterful storytelling to chronicle this bigger-than-life figure.” -- Dallas Morning News

"Exhilarating . . . a rollicking, historical adventure story . . . You may not have heard the name Meagher, but after reading Egan’s excellent biography, you’ll never forget it." -- San Antonio Express News

"An old-fashioned tale of tall talk, high ideals, and irresistible appeal . . .You will not read a historical thriller like this all year… [Egan] is a master storyteller.” -- The Boston Globe

"Egan has a gift for sweeping narrative . . . and he has a journalist’s eye for the telltale detail . . . This is masterly work.” -- The New York Times Book Review
Library Journal
01/01/2016
Egan's biography of Irish revolutionary Thomas Francis Meagher (1823–67) illustrates a singularly Irish-American story. In outlining Meagher's life, Egan, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of the National Book Award winner The Worst Hard Time, seeks to demonstrate how Meagher's experience was emblematic of Irish immigrants' spirit and resolve. Meagher was born in a well-to-do family in Ireland but was deeply empathetic toward the plight of the Irish poor, having lived through the Great Famine in the 1840s. After a failed uprising against the English, Meagher was banished to a penal colony in Tasmania, Australia. He escaped to the United States and took up the cause of freedom, identifying with the new country's anti-British attitudes. Leading the Irish Brigade in the Civil War, Meagher fought in some of the bloodiest battles, including Bull Run in 1861. He survived the war and was appointed governor of Montana territory where he hoped to create a "New Ireland." His death by drowning in 1867 remains a mystery. VERDICT This important account is an excellent choice for all readers, especially those interested in the contributions of the Irish to U.S. history. [See Prepub Alert, 10/5/15.]—Barrie Olmstead, Sacramento P.L.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2015-11-18
The story of Thomas Meagher (1823-1867), an Irishman radicalized by the famine who became a hero on three continents.New York Times columnist Egan (Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis, 2012, etc.), winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, could have written multiple books about Meagher's broad successes. He was a natural-born orator, and his gift encouraged his fellow Irish in hopes of freedom sooner, rather than "in time," as per the Great Liberator, Daniel O'Connell. The author imparts the desperation of the starving families while pointing to the many wealthy Catholics and Protestants who worked to achieve liberty. During the Great Famine, England exported 1.5 billion pounds of grain as well as more beef than any other colony, while millions starved without the blighted potatoes that sustained them. After a fiery speech in Conciliation Hall and a betrayal by John Balfe, the English arrested Meagher and a handful of others for speaking out. Meagher was sent to Tasmania, and while he was not put into forced labor, he had limited contact with his fellow Irish. Discovering that the traitor Balfe had been given a land grant, he sent an anonymous series of letters to the press, exposing his perfidy. Eventually, with help from his wealthy father, he escaped. His reputation preceded him, and his welcome in America was riotous. His leadership and oration made him a great recruiter of his fellow countrymen during the Civil War. A different side of the Civil War emerges as the author describes the frustrations of war under Gen. George McClellan and the devotion of Meagher's men. Exhausted after Chancellorsville, Meagher resigned and moved to Montana with his wife, where he fought yet again against a rabid vigilance committee. A fascinating, well-told story by an author fully committed to his subject. Egan's impeccable research, uncomplicated readability, and flowing narrative reflect his deep knowledge of a difficult and complex man.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780544272880
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
03/01/2016
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
4,265
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author


TIMOTHY EGAN is a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter, a New York Times columnist, winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for excellence in nonfiction, and the author of seven books, most recently Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher. His previous books include The Worst Hard Time, which won a National Book Award, and the national bestseller The Big Burn. He lives in Seattle, Washington. 

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Seattle, Washington
Date of Birth:
November 8, 1954

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The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Highly reccomend this book. It gave me a better understanding of Irish history through the experiences of one man while including the people, politics and history of 3 continents. The story is interesting in itself and can be enjoyed as the story of one man. However, his experiences are a study of the prejudices, cruelties and perseverances of humans too often repeated. I could not help but compare parts of the Irish experince at the hands of the British to some of the experiences of slaves in America. Both had elements of racism, politics and greed. This is a thought provoking book and a WELL TOLD STORY!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This biograpy of a little known historical figure was fascinating reading makes me want to go back to helena to see his statue
Anonymous 6 months ago
SharynR More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago