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Paddy's Lament, Ireland 1846-1847: Prelude to Hatred Paperback – May 13, 1987


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Paddy's Lament, Ireland 1846-1847: Prelude to Hatred + Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850 + The Great Hunger: Ireland: 1845-1849
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (May 13, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156707004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156707008
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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Customer Reviews

Read this book, please.
Joe Keenan
I reccomend this book to anyone interested in Irish history.
cheryl harrell
This was a very moving account of the Irish potato famine.
Linda A. Parsson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 105 people found the following review helpful By James Gallen VINE VOICE on April 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
"Paddy's Lament" tells the story of those who lived through and died in the Irish Potato Famine of 1846-1847. Throughout the book I kept wondering if my ancestors lived through the horrors described.
The economic setting of Ireland is laid out as that of an island of tenant farmers and large, often absentee, landlords. Agriculture produced wheat and beef for export to England. A small proportion of the land was planted in potatoes, the only food which could feed the population on such small acreage. With the advent of the textile industry in England, wool became a more profitable crop than the traditional ones, if only the native population could be done away with.
A fungus led to the destruction of the potato crop in 1846. Relief was available through the prohibition of the exportation of grain, a step which had previously been taken in other famine stricken countries. The control of Ireland's destiny was within the control of the British Lords who regarded the Irish as a subhuman species of which they would prefer to be rid. The aid extended by foreign nations, particularly the U.S., was a sharp indictment of British indifference. The Famine would not have occurred in a country in control of its own fate.
The famine cause tenants to fall behind in their rents. Massive evictions and destruction of homes followed. Many Irish were forced from their home villages to travel across the land. Is this why Mary McKeever's two brothers were born in the East, but she was born in the West?
Relief came in bits and spurts. The British Lords commissioned the chef of the Reform Club, their gathering place, to create an economical recipe for Irish soup kitchens.
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Evelyn Gehlsen on October 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book gives a strong narrative of the reasons for the "hatred" between the Irish and the English. Rather than citing "intellectual argument" he uses the facts, histories, and information to give a first person account as if it is happening right now. He puts names to the suffering. If you, as the reader, have any heart at all it pulls you into the story so much so that you almost feel it is happening to you.
I have just finished reading, or rather sobbing through, Paddy's Lament. I can't even think about it without tears in my eyes. I had to put it down several times to compose myself enough to continue. As sad as the whole thing was though I am glad I read it and will give it to many other people to read. I really think this book should be a "must-read" because it has definitely inspired me to see what can be done to right the wrongs that were done. I know all those people are gone now, but there is a legacy of pain and hatred that was left behind that still needs healing. One bright thing to point out is that Americans finally have some history to be proud of (page 80). I am so grateful to those Americans who sent the equivalent of 30 million dollars worth of aid in one year alone. Who knows if maybe that is the reason many were able to survive. That touches me so deeply I can't properly express it. And it also tells me that individuals can make a difference if we have the courage and the will to do it. Go raibh maith agaibh, Thanks for listening to my reactions.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 10, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Of all the books I've read by or about the Irish, this is by far the best. In trying to trace my heritage I have read everything from The Tain and books on Irish myth and legend, to bios on the likes of DeValera and Collins, to contemporary fiction by the likes of Emer Martin, Colum McCann and Patrick McCabe. But this book, by Thomas Gallagher, has been the only book that so vividly reveals what exactly happened in Ireland, why, and what it was like. Much like one of the previous reviewers, I had to put the book down several times, as I was so overcome by what I can only describe as grief. I would recommend also (as a companion to Paddy's Lament) the book "Mother Ireland" by Edna O'Brien, which is essentially an essay (or series of essays) of what Ireland was like for her. Very powerful. But be warned: While both books are eminently readable, neither is "easy" reading ... both of these books are filled with sorrow, shame, and much suffering. However, you will never see The Irish in quite the same way, and develop a renewed sense of Ireland's ultimate resourcefulness and courage.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Richard Magee on October 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am not an expert on Irish history or even particularly well-read about it, but this book caught my attention. Actually, my interest had been sparked by a song by Sinead O'Connor titled "Famine" and its claim that there "never really was one." Her point was that there was enough food for the Irish but that it was sent to England while the Irish starved. It was a good song but left me wondering if that wasn't an oversimplified account and a gross overstatement of British culpability. This book not only supports O'Connor's assertions, it details them using diaries, letters, and other documents to support its claims. I found myself wondering, why didn't anyone tell me about this before? I never heard or read anything about it when I was a student, and Social Studies was one of the two classes I was most interested in. Now, as a teacher, I look at the five world history textbooks and I see why. In the five books combined there are 19 pages about the Holocaust, 24 pages about slavery in America- and 3 paragraphs about the Irish Potato Famine. I'm not saying the books shouldn't spend significant time on the Holocaust and slavery (I'd like to see them address these two issues in greater detail), and I'm not suggesting there should be an entire chapter on the famine-but I do think schools should teach about the way the Irish Catholics were forced to send food to England, were forced to tithe the Anglican church, the British were slow to respond to the crisis and provided a flavored soup nearly devoid of nutrition, and the way the Irish were exploited to take "coffin ships" to America. Unless/until the textbooks cover this topic in more detail, let's hope more people stumble upon this book and others like it.
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