Becoming Irish American: The Making and Remaking of a People from Roanoke to JFK
The origins and evolution of Irish American identity, from colonial times through the twentieth century
“Subtly provocative. . . . [Meagher] traces the making and remaking of Irish America through several iterations and shows the impact of religion on each.”—Terry Golway, Wall Street Journal
As millions of Irish immigrants and their descendants created community in the United States over the centuries, they neither remained Irish nor simply became American. Instead, they created a culture and defined an identity that was unique to their circumstances, a new people that they would continually reinvent: Irish Americans.
Historian Timothy J. Meagher traces the Irish American experience from the first Irishman to step ashore at Roanoke in 1585 to John F. Kennedy’s election as president in 1960. As he chronicles how Irish American culture evolved, Meagher looks at how various groups adapted and thrived—Protestants and Catholics, immigrants and American born, those located in different geographic corners of the country. He describes how Irish Americans made a living, where they worshiped, and when they married, and how Irish American politicians found particular success, from ward bosses on the streets of New York, Boston, and Chicago to the presidency.
In this sweeping history, Meagher reveals how the Irish American identity was forged, how it has transformed, and how it has held lasting influence on American culture.
Timothy J. Meagher was associate professor of history at Catholic University of America and the curator of American Catholic History Collections. He is the author of The Columbia Guide to Irish American History. He lives in Washington, DC.
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: 11/07/2023 - 12:00am
On Sale: 11/07/2023 - 12:00am