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Publisher's Summary

Thomas Keneally, the Booker Prize-winning author of Schindler’s List, is universally praised for crafting smooth narratives from authentic historical events. With The Great Shame, he turns his insightful eye toward the Irish struggle through the 19h century. In sharp contrast to much of Europe, Ireland was a terrible place to be during the 1800s. Many of the nation’s finest people set sail for America and Canada. Others were forcibly exiled to Australia for committing crimes as minor as shoplifting. And approximately one million perished when a widespread potato fungus fueled a devastating famine. But the Irish survived—on their homeland and spanning the globe—making profound contributions to the world. Epic in scope, this account captures the humanity of these events and ultimately emerges as a message of hope and glory. Keneally, an Australian with Irish bloodties, powerfully examines many shattered lives—including those of his own relatives. Narrator John McDonough brings a spirit to this extraordinary book that will not soon be forgotten.

©1998 The Serpentine Publishing Co., Ltd. (P)2000 Recorded Books, LLC

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First read

I am enjoying this book, especially after just finishing Immortal Irishman. I am having a problem with Shame only in that it is read by an Englishman. They should have chosen a person with the Irish brogue. The history of the English dominance of Ireland is ugly one in so many respects. Listening to a book about Hitler's Germany read by a person with a German accent would not be as effective as one read in a Jewish accent. Just one man's opinion.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful history of the Irish icons of 19th C

It is hard to imagine how it could be better told that the persons and character of the Young Irelanders shaped the history of the Irish in Australia, America, and Ireland itself, as collectively they brought us into the fateful Twentieth Century. The Easter Rising, the Troubles, and the freeing of Ireland that began more than one hundred years ago are now in clearer context for this reader. Keneally’s masterful color portraits of Mitchel, O’Brien, O’Reilly, and “Saint Kevin” are only matched by the thoroughness of his research and patient exposition. It was a distinct pleasure and comprehensive education to read this book, or hear it wonderfully read on Audible. Congratulations are deserved all around.

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Not for me

This appears a passion project for Keneally (possibly due to success of Schindler's List?). It is an incredibly detailed book about Irishmen that ran afoul of the British Government in the 19th century. It is not really for the general public, more a specialty book. It a rambling book, in desperate need of an editor. And the guy reading it cannot pronounce Australian place names correctly (seriously... wtf...)