Famine to Freedom: The Irish in the American Civil
Author: J.J. Collins
Posted by: Collinja - 3/3/2012
University: Open University
Category: Other Subjects
Year of Publication: 2011
Keywords: Irish, American Civil War, Irish american history
Between 1845 and 1853, over one million Irish immigrants arrived in the United States. Escaping the potato famine in Ireland, they arrived in America to find themselves embroiled not only in a fight for survival against prejudice and violence, but in a conflict between the Northern and Southern states that would come to a head in 1861 with the start of the American Civil War. A thought provoking and insightful examination of the Irish role in the formation of America in the mid-eighteenth century and beyond, J.J. Collins’ debut is as fascinating as it is heartbreaking, graphically depicting the struggle of one of the most oppressed immigrant groups in American history. During the Civil War, the Irish conscripts and volunteers served mostly for the union, acquitting themselves with honor and bravery while representing states such as Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts. Over the course of the war, Irish American soldiers would rise to the heights of military rank, serve as the decisive factor in a number of battles, and help shape its outcome. Tracing the Irish-American narrative after General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox courthouse, the war’s aftermath and later political and social impact of the Irish community is fundamental in the shaping of America as we know it today. Providing surprising information and a sobering commentary on the formation of our nation, Famine to Freedom: The Irish in the American Civil War deftly portrays the experience of an immigrant culture that was fundamental in the shaping of the United States.