The Columbia Guide to Irish American History

The Columbia Guide to Irish American History

by Timothy Meagher


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Once seen as threats to mainstream society, Irish Americans have become an integral part of the American story. More than 40 million Americans claim Irish descent, and the culture and traditions of Ireland and Irish Americans have left an indelible mark on U.S. society. Timothy J. Meagher fuses an overview of Irish American history with an analysis of historians' debates, an annotated bibliography, a chronology of critical events, and a glossary discussing crucial individuals, organizations, and dates. He addresses a range of key issues in Irish American history from the first Irish settlements in the seventeenth century through the famine years in the nineteenth century to the volatility of 1960s America and beyond. The result is a definitive guide to understanding the complexities and paradoxes that have defined the Irish American experience.

Throughout the work, Meagher invokes comparisons to Irish experiences in Canada, Britain, and Australia to challenge common perceptions of Irish American history. He examines the shifting patterns of Irish migration, discusses the role of the Catholic church in the Irish immigrant experience, and considers the Irish American influence in U.S. politics and modern urban popular culture.

Meagher pays special attention to Irish American families and the roles of men and women, the emergence of the Irish as a "governing class" in American politics, the paradox of their combination of fervent American patriotism and passionate Irish nationalism, and their complex and sometimes tragic relations with African and Asian Americans.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231120708
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 09/14/2005
Series: Columbia Guides to American History and Cultures
Edition description: ANN
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Timothy J. Meagher is associate professor of history and curator of the American Catholic History Collections at Catholic University. He is the author of several works, including The New York Irish (with Ronald Bayor) and Inventing Irish America: Generation, Class, and Ethnic Identity in a New England City, 1880 to 1928, winners of the James Donnelly prize for the Best Book in Irish American history.

Table of Contents

Part I. A History of Irish Americans from the Seventeenth to the Twenty-first Century
Introduction: The Irish as Immigrants and Ethnics
1. Irish Immigration to Colonial America
2. Irish America from the Revolution to the Famine
3. The Famine Years
4. The Turn of the Twentieth Century
5. The Twentieth Century
6. The 1960s to the Present
Part II. Issues and Themes in Irish American History
1. Irish American Gender and Family
2. Irish Americans in Politics
3. Irish American Nationalism
4. Irish Americans and Race
Part III. Important People, Organizations, Events, and Terms
Part IV. Chronology of Irish America
Part V. Bibliography

What People are Saying About This

Roy Rosenzweig

This indispensable guide -- comprehensive, yet concise; scholarly, yet lively; erudite, yet accessible -- will become the first stop for anyone seeking to learn about Irish America, its history, people, and culture. Tim Meagher has long been one of our most astute and subtle commentators on Irish-American history, and he brings his vast knowledge together in this extraordinary volume. Beginners will find it a delightful and invaluable introduction and specialists will treasure it as an essential reference.

Roy Rosenzweig, George Mason University, coauthor of The Presence of the Past: Popular Uses of History in American Life

David Gerber

Comprehensive in its coverage, and written in a clear and engaging style, this outstanding reference work will be of interest to both the professional scholar and the general reader. In its broad range of topics and the depth of its understanding, The Columbia Guide to Irish American History is an authoritative and indispensable resource for the study of a familiar but little known people who have been at the heart of the American narrative from its colonial inception to the present day.

David Gerber, University of Buffalo, coeditor of American Immigration and Ethnicity: A Reader

Colleen McDannell

In this often lyrically written book, Timothy Meagher, tackles the big questions in Irish American history. He not only distills contemporary scholarship and points out disagreements between historians; he evaluates their ideas. The result is a work that challenges stereotypes and common assumptions. Readers will appreciate his straightforward descriptions of theories of ethnicity as well as his vivid reconstructions of how real people lived and worked. With its helpful bibliographic material, this is a 'must buy' for those interested in Ireland and the Irish in America.

Colleen McDannell, Professor of History and Sterling M. McMurrin Professor of Religious Studies, University of Utah

Kerby Miller

Tim Meagher has done a superb job, picking and choosing wisely among the dense and tangled data and controversies concerning Irish American history, and has produced an indispensable guide and source book for students and scholars of the history of the Irish (both Catholics and Protestants) in America.

Kerby Miller, University of Missouri, author of Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America

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