• When the Irish Invaded Canada

  • The Incredible True Story of the Civil War Veterans Who Fought for Ireland's Freedom
  • By: Christopher Klein
  • Narrated by: Malcolm Hillgartner
  • Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

"Christopher Klein's fresh telling of this story is an important landmark in both Irish and American history." (James M. McPherson, author of War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies, 1861-1865)

Just over a year after Robert E. Lee relinquished his sword, a band of Union and Confederate veterans dusted off their guns. But these former foes had no intention of reigniting the Civil War. Instead, they fought side by side to undertake one of the most fantastical missions in military history: to seize the British province of Canada and to hold it hostage until the independence of Ireland was secured.

By the time that these invasions - known collectively as the Fenian raids - began in 1866, Ireland had been Britain's unwilling colony for 700 years. Thousands of Civil War veterans who had fled to the United States rather than perish in the wake of the Great Hunger still considered themselves Irishmen first, Americans second. With the tacit support of the US government and inspired by a previous generation of successful American revolutionaries, the group that carried out a series of five attacks on Canada - the Fenian Brotherhood - established a state in exile, planned prison breaks, weathered infighting, stockpiled weapons, and assassinated enemies. Defiantly, this motley group, including a one-armed war hero, an English spy infiltrating rebel forces, and a radical who staged his own funeral, managed to seize a piece of Canada - if only for three days.

When the Irish Invaded Canada is the untold tale of a band of fiercely patriotic Irish Americans and their chapter in Ireland's centuries-long fight for independence. Inspiring, lively, and often undeniably comic, this is a story of fighting for what's right in the face of impossible odds.

©2019 Christopher Klein (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Thoroughly researched and engagingly written...A well-presented, little-known sidebar to the struggle for Irish independence.” (Kirkus Reviews)

"From today's perspective the invasions of Canada by Irish-Americans...seem to have the qualities of a comic opera. But these ‘Fenians’ were deadly serious.... Their example helped inspire the movement that led to eventual success a half century later. Christopher Klein's fresh telling of this story is an important landmark in both Irish and American history.” (James M. McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom and The War That Forged a Nation

"Klein is keen to celebrate the idealistic Fenians with their audacious dreams of national liberation, but he doesn’t fail to catalog the foolhardiness of their endeavors. His book should be pressed into the hands of any would-be insurrectionist looking for tips on how not to overthrow a tyrant.” (Wall Street Journal)

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What listeners say about When the Irish Invaded Canada

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    3 out of 5 stars

A Little Dense

While I enjoyed the narration, the subject matter was a little dense and hard to follow. It felt more like a social studies book than a page turning tale of the fight for Irish independence. In all, I do not regret picking this book up, a solid read with some intresting points, though at times it felt like more of a chore rather than an enjoyment.

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Very Informative and Entertaining

Lots of information about a subject that is not well known (at least where I live). Author clearly did his research and it was represented with flair. I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in Irish/Irish American history.

Narrator seems pretty passionate about the subject and enthusiastic all throughout the book. I'll definitely be looking for Malcolm Hillgartners name on future audiobooks.

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Amazing story

A part of history I never knew existed, a look at my Irish ancestors in a way I never saw, I'm ready to fight the damned thieving British!

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An incredible story

This is one of the most fascinating stories, in relation to the Irish and the attempted invasion of Canada. All done in the name of liberating Ireland from the British. There are some interesting characters in this book! I’d never heard if it up to this point, especially in regards to the key players. Malcolm Hilgartner provides the right tone and pacing. A fun and engrossing listen.