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Paddy's Lament, Ireland 1846-1847: Prelude…
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Paddy's Lament, Ireland 1846-1847: Prelude to Hatred

by Thomas Gallagher

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This book about Ireland's Potato Famine started out well, pulling no punches, striking hard at the British reaction to the famine and its horrendous effects on the poor of Ireland. The often shocking details left this reader with mouth agape, astounded once again at man's inhumanity to man. It started to get a bit repetitious (and I mean exact phrasing repeated), but kept moving fairly well. I became engaged with the cause of the Irish and began to despise what the British did.

That was the first section. In the second section, the book begins to sag like a tired boxer in the fifth round. The author resorts to using one of those "composite" stories, mixing in fact and fiction, to tell of the trip to America and, in the final section of the book, the sometimes dreadful conditions faced by the Irish once they got to the United States. Unfortunately, Gallagher lets his emotions overcome his sense, the facts, and his writing skills. Any reader who is familiar with the immigrant story, whether through books, history lectures, or family stories, will know that once the Irish got here, they faced no more hardships than thousands of other ethnic groups.

This is really too bad. What started out as a strong tale of the many wrongs done during the famine turned into a whiney, one-sided mess of self-pity. A shame, because there is plenty of material to write about in this awful situation, and I think Gallagher missed the mark badly.

Not recommended unless you read only the first section. ( )
2 vote bohemima | Jul 16, 2010 |
Great read -- although the author mixes what is obviously factual -- much of it footnoted from primary sources -- along side passages of semi-fictional "composite" accounts -- in a way that seems jarring to me. However, he covers a lot of ground here: agricultural, political, medical, social, to explain the background of one of the major genocides in Europe prior to World War II. You can't read this book and not come away with a clear understanding of the undying hatred of the Irish toward the English.
1 vote gooutsideandplay | Jun 9, 2010 |
Here is a good book about why the Irish hate the British. And unless you are British yourself, you'll feel like the British were real jerks. In all seriousness, though this book was very informative and it was a solid read. ( )
  BeaverMeyer | Jul 29, 2007 |
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To my son, Michael with love, affection, and respect
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Ireland in 1846 offered the same splendid sight from Ballycastle in the north to Skibbereen in the south.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156707004, Paperback)

Ireland in the mid-1800s was primarily a population of peasants, forced to live on a single, moderately nutritious crop: potatoes. Suddenly, in 1846, an unknown and uncontrollable disease turned the potato crop to inedible slime, and all Ireland was threatened. Index.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:09 -0400)

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