The Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s, one of the major human catastrophes of modern times, has been popularly perceived as a genocide attributable to the British government's actions and failures to act. In professional historical circles, however, such thinking was dismissed for many years, as evidenced by the scathing academic response to Cecil Woodham-Smith's 1963 classic, The Great Hunger: Ireland, 1845-49, which, in addition to presenting a vivid and horrifying picture of the human suffering, made strong accusations against the British government and its officials. Donnelly (Irish history, Univ. of Wisconsin) has written an intelligent, thought-provoking, and well-written book that, among other things, is a very useful survey and synthesis of the current debates about and researches into the origins and causes of the famine. Donnelly supports Cecil-Woodham's charges of British governmental sins of both omission and commission in the famine but puts those charges in a broader context, including discussion of class and regional influences on the famine in Ireland itself. The chapter notes, indexing, and bibliography are of good quality. This book would be an excellent choice to accompany and update The Great Hunger. Highly recommended for both academic and public libraries. Charlie Cowling, Drake Memorial Lib., SUNY at Brockport
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'This is unquestionably the most comprehensive single account of the Irish catastrophe...' Professor Peter Gray, Queen's University, Belfast ' ... many historians have written excellent books about the great Irish famine ... Donnelly's is the best and most comprehensive of them all.' Kerby Miller, Middlebush Professor of History, University of Missouri, Columbia 'James Donnelly's book is likely to become the classic account of the Great Famine, and the first port of call for both students and general readers.' Professor Peter Gray, Queen's University, Belfast --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Editorial Reviews
Knew nothing about the Great Irish Potato famine. Never heard of it in the history books. Certainly doesn't paint a good picture of England at the time.Published 22 months ago by glenn furth
The book covers the 30 years during which England reduced the population of Ireland by brutal tyranny and starvation. They also took away the cultural heritage of the Irish. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Ben F. Wilder
A fair and balanced book of the many layers of the Potato Famine. A must read for those interested in this most significant event in Irish history.Published on December 21, 2012 by Bruce