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The Irish Pioneer: A historical novel of the life of Tobias Boland Paperback – July 13, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Margaret Boland Ellis is the great grand daughter and only known descendant of her generation of Tobias Boland, the subject of this book. She has had a long career in journalism and is the author of six published books. She lives on the Gulf Coast and continues writing.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Magnolia Mansions Press (July 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0975939750
  • ISBN-13: 978-0975939758
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,553,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This historical novel is an engaging and caring presentation by Margaret Boland of her great grandfather and his struggle to establish himself in a new country. Her writing brings builder/contractor Tobias Boland to life, inviting the reader to participate in his anticipation, excitement, and successes, as well as his adjustment, disappointment, and losses. I found myself drawn in by the narrative, and I started caring about the central character and sharing the pride in his impressive accomplishments - among them, the building of the College of the Holy Cross and the Blackstone Canal. With the assistance of Thomas L. Rooney, Boland has very successfully maintained here the delicate balance between artistic license and historical fact.
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Format: Paperback
This book shows the value and importance of family histories. A glimpse back in time for many Americans will reveal a story of daring, adventure, and romance. The wonderful aspect of this book is that both these authors were able to research and find interesting facts, and then to weave them into a story that was fresh and fun to read. These two authors have captured the spirit of young America embodied by a tough Irishman who had a dream and was willing to work to make it a reality. Bravo!
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Format: Paperback
I am amazed that the few facts these authors had enabled them to produce a stunning story of an Irishman who was truly an important pioneer in the early days of our country.

Judge Jay Westfaul, author of Saving Mississippi
Oxford, Mississippi
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Format: Paperback
The Good: this is an intriguing story of an early 19th century Irish immigrant to Massachusetts who through application of his talents, determination and training becomes a model for the American Dream. Tobias ("Tobey") Boland overcomes adversity and extreme anti-Catholic prejudice in Worcester MA to become a successful construction project leader (e.g., the Blackstone Canal, railroads, churches) and dedicated scion of an extended family. He is virtuous, steadfast and gives back to the community. The book provides interesting insights into both the man and his times.

The Not-so-good: First, let's address one major factual flaw. On page 17 the authors state "[The White House] suffered damage during the 1812 war while President John Adams was the first presidential occupant. ... Adams' wife, Abigail, (took) the large portrait of George Washington to safe keeping when the attack was near." It does not take much of an historian to know that this episode involved James and Dolley Madison. An error this basic should put the reader on notice about other facts.

The "historical novel" style is off putting to me, attributing quotations to the characters which seem contrived and simplistic. With deeper research and better technique, this could have been a serious subject for a good biography.

If the intended audience is middle school students, I may be too hard on the authors. The story might have an appeal for that age group. For an adult reader, the superficiality and even the "voice" of the book is disappointing.

Also, this book begs for illustrations and specific detail around Boland's achievements. It is a story worth telling well.
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