Richard White gives us a beautifully rendered account of his mother’s life, tracing her journey as a young girl from Ireland toward the new identities she forged for herself in Boston and Chicago. Subtly weaving memory and history to suggest how the two reinforce but also challenge each other, Remembering Ahanagran is a powerful meditation on the immigrant experience in America. It is an absolutely wonderful book.
In this brilliant book, Richard White proves that he is not only one of the finest historians in America but also one of the most eloquent and ambitious. Through a loving but clear—eyed examination of the tales his immigrant mother tells of her early life in Ireland and the United States, he has managed to uncover a host of surprising truths—-about his own family, about the complex, often poignant relationship between history and memory, and about what it means to be an American.
(Geoffrey C. Ward)
Remembering Ahanagran is a rare and remarkable achievement: a book that carries as great a charge in emotional power as it does in intellectual energy. Sara Walsh’s ‘memory’ and Richard White’s ‘history’ travel through terrain from the most urgent American concerns of immigration and intermarriage to the most elemental, universal issues of love and death. This book gives its readers access to the company of two people with extraordinary gifts for life’s basic enterprise: taking in experience, and making sense of it.
(Patricia Nelson Limerick)
With equal and equally tender respect for document, memory, and lore, Richard White recreates and joins his Irish and his Jewish ancestry. An extraordinary book.
An eminent historian examines the dialogue between history and memory while uncovering the story of his Irish mother’s life