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Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America (Oxford Paperbacks) Revised ed. Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195051872
ISBN-10: 0195051874
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"In Emigrants and Exiles, the Irish and Irish-Americans have found a work equal to their history--alive with fact, vivid in detail, exposing and assessing the virtues and vices of being Irish."--Terrence Fitzmorris, Tulane University


"A well-written and extensively researched study....This ambitious work definitely promises to become a basic title for Irish studies."--Ethnic Forum


"Without question Emigrants and Exiles will become a classic in emigration studies and because exile/emigration is so crucial to understanding Ireland it will be a significant text for any study of Irish history."--Journal of American Studies


"This is a book that should be read by anyone with even a passing interest in eighteenth-century Ireland or America."--Eoin Magennis, Eighteenth-Century Ireland


From the Back Cover

The most important book on Irish emigration to appear in a generation...destined to be the monument by which all others are measured..... It has the sinew of scholarship, the strength of extended argument and the intimacy of a correspondence with long lost relatives.
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 684 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Revised ed. edition (January 21, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195051874
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195051872
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.1 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America is a well documented history of the emigration of more than seven million Irish people who left Eire for North America in five time periods from pre-Revolutionary days to 1921. Author Kerby Miller's research included more than 750 sources in both public and privately held collections in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Canada, 20 U.S. states and the District of Columbia as well as more than 5,000 emigrants' letters, memoirs, poems, songs and folklore.
Miller begins and ends the book with recollections of Irish oral tradition to help understand the essence of the Irish emigration experience. He refers to Irish poems, songs and ballads from as early as the 11th century to explain an almost original sin-like belief that all Irish are exiles whether they emigrated or not. He explains how the Irish wake became a metaphor for the departure of the emigrants. In the last moments before Maura O'Sullivan left her mother's cottage to begin her journey to America, the old women of the village gathered `round to sing a mournful goodbye that just as easily could have been a funeral dirge: "Oh, musha, Maura, how shall I live after you when the long winter's night will be here and you not coming to the door nor your laughter to be heard!"
By the 1830s, less than 10,000 families literally owned Ireland, with several hundred of the wealthiest proprietors and large tenants monopolizing the bulk of the land. The Irish Diaspora flowed from an extreme concentration of property and power in an agrarian, export-based economy where too many people competed for too few jobs. In 1841, 80 percent of the more than 8.1 million Irish lived in communities of less than 20 houses.
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Format: Paperback
Many of us tracing our Irish ancestry will never really know our forebears - we may learn their names and the dates and places of their births and deaths - but we will never know who they really were. It is to sources such as this book that we must turn to flesh out the picture of the Irish emigrant and the forces that drove them from their homes - economic, social, cultural, and psychological, as well as their reactions to and rationalizations of those forces. We must then apply this information on the Irish emigrant milieu to the framework of knowledge of our specific forebears. The book has given me a plausible explanation as to why my County Mayo ancestors did not emigrate until the 1880's while so many from other parts of Ireland came over much sooner. Dr. Miller is quite detailed in his discussion of the differences in the adherence to traditional Irish culture and the Irish language that existed between the inhabitants of western Ireland and the remainder of the island. A must-read for any geneaologist seeking their Irish roots!
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Format: Paperback
I was fortunate enough to have taken an Irish History class taught by Mr. Miller, and he is quite simply the pure embodiment of knowledge. From what I understand, this book is regarded as the definitive work on the subject, and I heartily agree. As an undergraduate student, initially only mildly interested in American/Irish relations, I read this book as an assignment; the subsequent three times, out of zeal and desire. Well written with an appeal not only to historians and Irish Americans, but to anyone who enjoys a nice thick read, I have passed my tattered copy out to many people, and all were happily satisfied. A brilliant tome, no matter your background.
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Format: Paperback
As far as I'm concerned this is required reading for any Irish American who wants to know from whence she or he comes. I recognized many traits in my own family that had their origins in the Ireland described by Mr. Miller and we've been here for five generations. For anyone who wants to get by the stereotypes of St. Patrick's Day and Green Beer you'll be well rewarded. Jim Conbo
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Format: Paperback
An excellent book covering the migration out of Ireland. Miller looks at the different time periods and at the different kinds of immigration, and traces the idea of emigration as "exile." Great background materials are included, as well as good statistical appendices and notes.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This excellent history is a must-have for American family genealogists with Irish roots - it is one thing to know the names of your ancestors, but another to truly comprehend their experience as immigrants and the social and economic issues they encountered when they arrived in America. If you are a writer who is interested in accurately reflecting the Irish American experience pre and post-immigration, this is an excellent resource. Even though the book was published in 1985, the thoroughly researched material remains relevant and accurate. The book is a scholarly work written by a serious scholar, but if you have interest in or need for the material, you find the content engaging and useful. Note: I did not read the material chronologically as I am interested in specific time periods and social issues, but the book's chronological order and index make it easy to locate the content one is seeking.
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This is a very in-depth research of the topic as stated in the title. If you are interested in Irish history this book is quite informative and interesting. However, it is not lite reading because of the author's detailed efforts to convey to the reader the many reasons why Ireland and the Irish people came to be such a distinctive population. These are reasons that cannot easily be summed up in a few short pages, but I do think the author could have done a better job in summarizing his information. Refreshingly, the author only lets his personal biases creep into the book occasionally. Most disappointing is that my paperback copy of this book was marred by an imperfect printing and many of the words on the left side of opposing pages were hardly readable. It became quite frustrating to have to guess at some of them.

To anyone who is doing research, this is a good read.
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