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Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine | [Susan Campbell Bartoletti]

Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine

In 1845, a disaster struck Ireland. Overnight, a mysterious blight attacked the potato crops, turning the potatoes black and destroying the only real food of nearly six million people. Over the next five years, the blight attacked again and again. These years are known today as the Great Irish Famine, a time when one million people died from starvation and disease and two million more fled their homeland.
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Publisher's Summary

In 1845, a disaster struck Ireland. Overnight, a mysterious blight attacked the potato crops, turning the potatoes black and destroying the only real food of nearly six million people. Over the next five years, the blight attacked again and again. These years are known today as the Great Irish Famine, a time when one million people died from starvation and disease, and two million more fled their homeland.

Black Potatoes is the compelling story of men, women, and children who defied landlords and searched empty fields for scraps of harvested vegetables and edible weeds to eat, who walked several miles each day to hard-labor jobs for meager wages and to reach soup kitchens, and who committed crimes just to be sent to jail, where they were assured of a meal. It's the story of children and adults who suffered from starvation, disease, and the loss of family and friends, as well as those who died. It's also the story of the heroes among the Irish people and how they held on to hope.

©2001 Susan Campbell Bartoletti (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A powerful and important book." (KLIATT)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (26 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Aaron EDGEWOOD, NM, United States 11-03-11
    Aaron EDGEWOOD, NM, United States 11-03-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Decent Companion to Woodham-Smith's Book"

    I recommend that this book be read/listened to after you've already completed Cecil Woodham-Smith's "The Great Hunger" (also available on Audible.com). "Black Potatoes" closely follows (and comes off as heavily derived from) "The Great Hunger", but whereas "TGH" focuses primarily on the perspective of the British Government, "Black Potatoes" offers a summary of "THG" as a backdrop for presenting personal stories from the starving Irish themselves. Not authoritative by any stretch, "Black Potatoes" is a capable summary and supplement to Woodham-Smith's book. The narrator and his pronunciation of Irish names are tolerable.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James 04-12-12
    James 04-12-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Irish Famine... Up Close and Very Personal!"

    Wow!!!

    I've heard a lot about the Irish famine over the years, but it wasn't until I read this book, Black Potatoes, that I fully understood the extent of the horrible conditions that so many people had to go through.

    Black Potatoes is an excellent audio book in which both the author and narrator do an excellent job of returning the struggles of the Irish people during the great potato famine back in the 1840s.

    Even though the book is very descriptive, it's not unnecessarily gruesome or ugly and its betrayal of the struggles, but it's real and realistic and can be felt throughout every chapter.

    I highly recommend Black Potatoes for readers who are interested in history and in the struggles of the people through no fault of their own, had to deal with a Perfect Storm of Mother Nature situations that for the most part, were beyond their control.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tina ALLSTON, MA, United States 05-04-12
    Tina ALLSTON, MA, United States 05-04-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Just the facts"

    this book was a wonderfully efficient overview of the potato famine in Ireland. there is no opinion or fluff. it is a quick read and very well written. the book is fully encompassing of the tragedy without being too long or tedious.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Parola138 Czech Republic 05-18-11
    Parola138 Czech Republic 05-18-11 Listener Since 2005

    We bite

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "loved it"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its narration. I like the brevity of it. Recently, I read 'The Great Influenza,' which was waaaay too long. This book got more done in its 3 hours.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daphne USA 04-15-15
    Daphne USA 04-15-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pairs well with A Modest Proposal"
    Would you listen to Black Potatoes again? Why?

    I doubt I'll listen to this one again. Mostly because I'm using it as an introduction to this historical event, and nothing to do with the quality of the book or narration.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It wasn't a feel good book. It's not supposed to be. It introduces one to a very sad period of time for the Irish people. It's an important book that more people should listen to.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • William Stewart
    Neston, United Kingdom
    6/3/12
    Overall
    "A great read."

    A very interesting listen, I learned much from this writer about the hard times of the famine, indeed I often wonder if any of my Fathers relations would have lived through this time, one cannot help to feel the pain and suffering of the time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • JP EWART
    6/18/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "No detail, nothng new..."
    What disappointed you about Black Potatoes?

    Seriously unoriginal and banal with little to no analysis and really added nothing to the subject.


    What was most disappointing about Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s story?

    It was incredibly over simplified and almost patronising


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Performance was good.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Booboo10
    UK
    1/5/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Telling"

    I already new the history but this still held my attention and interest.A worth while read for both English and Irish folk.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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