Review by Choice Review
Over the past 30 years, Irish American historiography has grown immensely. The body of scholarly knowledge is so broad and its underlying interpretations so nuanced that graduate and undergraduate students and even some academics can be easily overwhelmed. With this in mind, Meagher (Catholic Univ.) has succinctly organized Irish American studies by time periods, issues, and themes. This is no small feat, because, as the author explains, Irish American history is riddled with paradoxes and immune to facile generalizations. This excellent piece of scholarship examines Irish migration to the US from the Colonial era to the present. The author provides in-depth, to the point, and particularly well-balanced assessments of gender and family, politics, nationalism, and race, and deftly sorts through the most controversial topics and many minor but equally interesting ones. Moreover, Meagher frequently points out areas that require further academic attention. The book includes sections on important people, organizations, events, and terms; a chronology of Irish America; and an annotated bibliography. This book is indispensable for collections on Irish American history and politics. ^BSumming Up: Essential. All undergraduate libraries and above. P. G. Connors Michigan Legislative Service Bureau
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Meagher (history, Catholic Univ.; Inventing Irish America) begins with a topical history spanning the last 400 years, then looks separately at gender, politics, nationalism, and race, finishing with a chapter in encyclopedia form on important people and events and finally a chronology of Irish America. Given the libraries filled with books on each of these topics, how does he cover them all in 384 pages? By skimming, when necessary. Meagher does fine work summarizing the opposing historical camps still trying to explain the Great Famine and successfully undoes some stereotypes. For example, on how prominent the Irish (a.k.a. Scotch-Irish) were in the American Revolution, Meagher explains how those from one county in Ireland responded differently from those from other counties, and those living in New England reacted differently from those in the South. He describes generations aspiring to power while dealing with the Protestant establishment, and women struggling with Catholic dogma in increasingly modern America. With respect to the encyclopedia component, other titles are more exhaustive, and include photos; yet this book is still well researched. If you want a heroic effort at encapsulating Irish American history, this is your book. A good alternative title for public and academic libraries.-Robert Moore, Bristol-Myers Squibb Medical Imaging, Waltham, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.