The Famine Plot by Tim Pat Coogan
England's Role in Ireland's Greatest Tragedy

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Synopsis

During a Biblical seven years in the middle of the nineteenth century, Ireland experienced the worst disaster a nation could suffer. Fully a quarter of its citizens either perished from starvation or emigrated, with so many dying en route that it was said, "you can walk dry shod to America on their bodies." In this grand, sweeping narrative, Ireland''s best-known historian, Tim Pat Coogan, gives a fresh and comprehensive account of one of the darkest chapters in world history, arguing that Britain was in large part responsible for the extent of the national tragedy, and in fact engineered the food shortage in one of the earliest cases of ethnic cleansing. So strong was anti-Irish sentiment in the mainland that the English parliament referred to the famine as "God's lesson."

Drawing on recently uncovered sources, and with the sharp eye of a seasoned historian, Coogan delivers fresh insights into the famine's causes, recounts its unspeakable events, and delves into the legacy of the "famine mentality" that followed immigrants across the Atlantic to the shores of the United States and had lasting effects on the population left behind. This is a broad, magisterial history of a tragedy that shook the nineteenth century and still impacts the worldwide Irish diaspora of nearly 80 million people today.


 

About Tim Pat Coogan

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Tim Pat Coogan is Ireland's best known historian and the author of numerous important works on Irish history, including Michael Collins and The IRA, published to wide acclaim. The former editor of The Irish Press, he lives in Dublin, Ireland.
 
Published November 27, 2012 by Palgrave Macmillan Trade. 297 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Acclaimed Irish historian Coogan (Ireland in the Twentieth Century, 2004, etc.) opens up the truth about the Irish potato famine, and it’s uglier than you thought.

Sep 13 2012 | Read Full Review of The Famine Plot: England's Ro...

The Bookbag

Summary: A history of the Irish famine of the 1840s, in which the author argues that Britain was partly responsible for the tragedy in what was one of the earliest recorded cases of ethnic cleansing.

Nov 24 2012 | Read Full Review of The Famine Plot: England's Ro...

The Boston Globe

Coogan notes that English economic ideas came inextricably entwined with moral ones — “straightforward anti-Catholic prejudice, and the view that the laws of commerce were the laws of God.” As Coogan puts it, the Victorian attitude was that “poverty was a self-inflicted wound incurred through bad...

Dec 03 2012 | Read Full Review of The Famine Plot: England's Ro...

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