It started in 1845 and lasted six years. Before it was over, more than one million men, women, and children starved to death and another million fled the country. Measured in terms of mortality, the Great Irish Potato Famine was one of the worst disasters in the 19th century-it claimed twice as many lives as the American Civil War. A perfect storm of bacterial infection, political greed, and religious intolerance sparked this catastrophe. But even more extraordinary than its scope were its political underpinnings, and The Graves Are Walking provides fresh material and analysis on the role that nineteenth-century evangelical Protestantism played in shaping British policies and on Britain's attempt to use the famine to reshape Irish society and character.
Perhaps most important, this is ultimately a story of triumph over perceived destiny: for 50 million Americans of Irish heritage, the saga of a broken people fleeing crushing starvation and remaking themselves in a new land is an inspiring story of exoneration.
Based on extensive research and written with novelistic flair, The Graves Are Walking draws a portrait that is both intimate and panoramic, that captures the drama of individual lives caught up in an unimaginable tragedy, while imparting a new understanding of the famine's causes and consequences.
©2012 John Kelly (P)2012 Tantor
"[Kelly's] exhaustive research covers every aspect, threading the gruesome events into a huge panoramic tapestry that reveals political greed lurking behind the pestilence." (Publishers Weekly)
I've often pondered the source of my inherent disdain and mistrust (perhaps hatred) for those in authority, particularly political authority. Part of the answer is in this book. Two of my ancestors fled Ireland in 1847 and made their way aboard coffin ships to the United States. I can feel their overwhelming influence even across the four generations that separate us. Brilliant Book and Wonderful Narration. Everyone should listen. It teaches a lesson few are willing to recognize, that the worst suffering and evil in this world flows principally from the hands of those in power who are convinced they are performing God's will.
This was an easy book to stay with--a historical picture of the years around the years of potato crop failures in Ireland and Europe. Very descriptive of the effects on workers, their families. The role England played in NOT responding to the crisis. Money is the primary element in creating the death of hundreds of thousands of poor in Ireland. The book starts before the famine and carries it forward to the Irish exodus to other countries--and the disappointing reception these poor people received. Very interesting and very well written. Very nicely narrated.
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