Review by Choice Review
Ireland and Irish Americans: the demographics are revealing. More than 40 million Americans claim some ancestry from Ireland while just over 5 million now live there. This first encyclopedia on the topic covers the vast influence Irish Americans have had in the US since Richard Butler from Tipperary set foot here in 1584. Arranged alphabetically, it contains about 1,000 entries, ranging from biographies (actor Barry Fitzgerald to novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald; Senators Eugene to Joseph McCarthy) to topical essays (music of the early immigrants, Irish theater, Irish-American school teachers). Entries, frequently illustrated with black-and-white photographs, contain brief bibliographies. Although many entries cover topics found in the abundant literature on Irish America, they offer some unique material. Each of the 50 states has an entry, as do many major cities, and there are essays on relations between Irish Americans and African Americans, Germans, Italians, Jews, and Poles, providing easy access to elusive material. A lively prose style illuminates many entries (e.g., the biography of biblical and Dead Sea Scrolls scholar Daniel J. Harrington; "Irish Song in America"). Inevitably, some material is omitted, but the most serious omission is an index. Although the work has a table of contents, the absence of an index makes it difficult for serious scholars or casual readers to know whether Irish humor, Irish cuisine, or the Emerald societies are covered. A general bibliography would have enhanced the work's usefulness. There is at least one bizarre statement: Patrick J. Buchanan, a millionaire who never served in the US military or held elective office and regularly makes bigoted comments, is called the "quintessential Irish-American." These flaws aside, this work eclipses previous Irish-American reference volumes (The Irish American Almanac and Green Pages, ed. by B.E. Cooper, 1990, breezy, with popular information on Ireland, or The Book of Irish Americans, ed. By W.D. Griffin, 1990, with some useful and entertaining lists). Glazier's compilation, radiating love for his homeland and its descendants, sets a high standard for future reference works about other ethnic groups. Highly recommended for public and academic collections. D. Altschiller; Boston University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Hailing itself as the first encyclopedia of its kind, this ambitious reference work tries mightily to document every meaningful person, place, or thing Irish in America. Glazier (The Encyclopedia of American Catholic History) devotes several dual-column pages of dense text to such well-known topics as emigration and the famine--but he also mentions Christopher Columbus because he visited Ireland and had an Irishman in his crew. Every state, including Hawaii, has had Irishmen in it, and so every state gets an entry. What may earn this title space on the shelves, however, is its exhaustive coverage of Irish American clerics, politicians, artists, actors, writers, and little-known businessmen. The entries, written by almost 250 contributors, cite scholarly books, other encyclopedias, magazines, and a couple of web pages. Useful for any public collection.--Robert C. Moore, Raytheon, Sudbury, 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.