The Irish in New Jersey: Four Centuries of American Lifeby Dermot Quinn
"Quinn offers a historian's and an Irishman's perspective on the second-most populous ethnic group in New Jersey, and does it with a critical eye, salted with Irish wit. He goes beyond the stereotypes and offers a history of the Irish in New Jersey that will provide new information even to those who think they know the story already."-Augustine J. Curley, OSB, New… See more details below
"Quinn offers a historian's and an Irishman's perspective on the second-most populous ethnic group in New Jersey, and does it with a critical eye, salted with Irish wit. He goes beyond the stereotypes and offers a history of the Irish in New Jersey that will provide new information even to those who think they know the story already."-Augustine J. Curley, OSB, New Jersey Catholic Historical Records Commission
"This gem of a book is far from being either simple ethnic celebration or uncritical local history. It is a very subtle analysis of the phenomenon of the Irish in America with a special emphasis on New Jersey."-John P. McCarthy, professor emeritus of history, Fordham University
Since Irish immigrants began settling in New Jersey during the seventeenth century, they have made a sizable impact on the state's history and development. As the budding colony struggled to establish a distinguishable identity for itself in the New World, its Irish citizens were forced to grapple with issues of their own: What did it mean to be Irish American, and what role would "Irishness" play in the creation of an American identity?
In this fascinating and richly illustrated history, Dermot Quinn calls upon a remarkable treasury of photographs and newspaper clippings that uncover the story of how the Irish of New Jersey maintained their proud heritage while also embracing their role in laying the foundations for the social, economic, political, and religious landscapes of the country they now called home.
Featuring a wealth of local anecdotes, sermons, diary entries, and brief biographical sketches, as well as early census statistics and scholarly references, this well-written andthoroughly researched volume will appeal to historians and general readers alike. Quinn vividly chronicles the emigration of many families from a war-torn and famine-stricken country to the new and unfamiliar land whose discriminatory policies and unwelcoming streets often fell all too short of being paved with gold.
The Irish in New Jersey tells many harrowing tales of poverty and struggles to adapt, as the Irish contended with anti-Irish and anti-Catholic prejudice. Using case histories of individuals and of the cities of Paterson, Jersey City, and Newark, Quinn explores the troubled transition of the Irish from a rejected minority toward a middle class, secular, and suburban identity. He also explores the promotion of "Irishness" by means of cultural productions like the famed Riverdance and the annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade, noting how each reflects the fluidity and malleability of Irish American identity. The Irish in New Jersey will appeal to everyone with an interest in the unique cultural heritage of a proud and accomplished people.
Dermot Quinn is an associate professor of history at Seton Hall University. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin and New College, Oxford, he is author of Patronage and Piety: English Roman Catholics and Politics, 1850-1900 and Understanding Northern Ireland.
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