9780786863440 / 0786863447

The Irish in America





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About the book:

The Irish in America was created, in part, as a companion to the PBS documentary series of the same name that was first aired in January 1998. Journalist Terry Golway's text provides a solid backbone to the book: she tells the usual story of Irish involvement in American politics and also sheds light on contributions that the Irish have made to American industry and culture. Golway's text is interspersed (sometimes a bit confusingly) with hundreds of illustrations, as well as with many brief essays by Irish American notables, including historians, novelists, comedians, musicians, and politicians. Two of the most enlightening are historian Ellen Skerrett's essay on the Irish American penchant for building cathedrals and Maureen Murphy's look at how Irish immigrant girls found upward mobility in America. Other essays aren't as strictly historical, but the matching of writer and subject makes them irresistible. For example, a lively contribution by novelist Thomas Flanagan on Irish Americans as portrayed in John Ford's films raises serious issues while still being entertaining (much like Ford's films). Despite a few other inclusions that may make some readers scratch their heads or roll their eyes (such as Denis Leary's essay, which contains something guaranteed to offend almost everyone), The Irish in America is a worthy effort, one that offers valuable insight into American history and the distinct role played by the Irish.

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