The Great Irish Famine of 1845–52 was the defining event in the history of modern Ireland. In proportional terms one of the most lethal famines in global history, the consequences were shocking: at least one million people died, and double that number fled the country within a decade. The Great Irish Famine surveys the history of this great tragedy through the testimonies of four key contemporaries, conveying the immediacy of the unfolding disaster as never before.
John MacHale – the Catholic Archbishop of TuamJohn Mitchel – the radical nationalistElizabeth Smith – the Scottish-born wife of a Wicklow landlordCharles E. Trevelyan – the assistant secretary to the Treasury
Each brings a unique perspective, influenced by who they were, what they witnessed, and what they stood for. It is an intimate and compelling portrayal of these hungry years. The book shows how misguided policies inspired by slavish adherence to ideology worsened the effects of a natural disaster of catastrophic proportions.
‘A significant and sophisticated addition to the historiography of the Famine.’
Christopher Cusack, Times Literary Supplement
‘Delaney’s approach to the story is innovative … (it will be found) in the hands of those who appreciate first-rate history … a very impressive book.’
Breandán Mac Suibhne, Dublin Review of Books
‘… a genuinely original and illuminating perspective on a subject too often dealt with by means of second-hand narrative and unexamined clichés.’
Roy Foster, Professor of Irish History, Oxford University
‘There are many books on this terrible event, but this is one of the most fluent and original. Although it is based on large amounts of primary research its style is accessible and engaging, and the result is a valuable study of a truly harrowing crisis.’
The Times Higher Education Supplement
‘… an extraordinarily important subject … focusing on four fascinating characters.’
‘Delaney offers an insightful, readable overview of this overwhelming disaster … highly recommended.’
Choice, America's Library Association publication
About Enda DelaneySee more books from this Author
Delaney (modern history, Univ. of Edinburgh; The Irish in Post-War Britain), whose previous work concentrated on 20th-century Irish emigration and diaspora politics, attempts a new approach to the Irish famine of the 1840s by focusing on four individuals: in Ireland, John Mitchel, Elizabeth Smith...Apr 15 2013 | Read Full Review of The Curse of Reason: The Grea...