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The Great Shame: And the Triumph of the Irish in the English-Speaking World

The Great Shame And the Triumph of the Irish in the English Speaking World In The Great Shame Thomas Keneally the bestselling Booker Prize winning author of Schindler s List combines the authority of a brilliant historian and the narrative grace of a great novelist to pres

  • Title: The Great Shame: And the Triumph of the Irish in the English-Speaking World
  • Author: Thomas Keneally
  • ISBN: 9780385720267
  • Page: 296
  • Format: Paperback
  • In The Great Shame, Thomas Keneally the bestselling, Booker Prize winning author of Schindler s List combines the authority of a brilliant historian and the narrative grace of a great novelist to present a gripping account of the Irish diaspora.The nineteenth century saw Ireland lose half of its population to famine, emigration, or deportation to penal colonies in AustraIn The Great Shame, Thomas Keneally the bestselling, Booker Prize winning author of Schindler s List combines the authority of a brilliant historian and the narrative grace of a great novelist to present a gripping account of the Irish diaspora.The nineteenth century saw Ireland lose half of its population to famine, emigration, or deportation to penal colonies in Australia often for infractions as common as stealing food Among the victims of this tragedy were Thomas Keneally s own forebearers, and they were his inspiration to tell the story of the Irish who struggled and ultimately triumphed in Australia and North America Relying on rare primary sources including personal letters, court transcripts, ship manifests, and military documents Keneally offers new and important insights into the impact of the Irish in exile The result is a vivid saga of heroes and villains, from Great Famine protesters to American Civil War generals to great orators and politicians.

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    1 thought on “The Great Shame: And the Triumph of the Irish in the English-Speaking World

    1. The story of what happened to the Irish political prisoners known as the Young Irelanders and the Fenians, in the 1850s and 60s, is expertly told by Australian writer Thomas Keneally in "The Great Shame." Sticking firmly to documented history, about the only thing Keneally leaves out is the nastier side of Fenianism, with its secret vendettas and occasional underlying brutality. But that all lies in the misty past, and Keneally has done a first-rate job of bringing much of this truculent history [...]

    2. It seems almost unimaginable that something as small as a spore could bring a nation to its knees and change the face of two continents, but that is exactly what happened after the potato famine in Ireland in the 1800s. The potato was the mainstay of Irish tenants, who were evicted by English landlords when they couldn't pay their rents. The potato, the cash crop and their personal dietary mainstay, had rotted in the fields year after year. As the Irish starved, grains and edible foods grown in [...]

    3. I very much wanted to love this book because I hoped it would be what Keneally describes in his preface as his hope as well: an Irish version of his masterwork, Schindler's List, focusing on the 19th century diaspora of the Irish to Australia and the Americas. But in Schindler, Keneally went micro -- telling the story of the Holocaust through the life of one man the 1,300 men, women, and children he rescued from the gas chamber -- while in Shame, Keneally goes macro -- telling a century's worth [...]

    4. I did not think much of the writing in Schindler's List, which I recently read, and here I found that the style was not due to Keneally being cajoled into writing that book but that it really is his own. He drops the "and" from a series of three when the conjunction would clarify and he uses fragments without intention. Not like this. Where they do not add to his point. But detract. Plus I just finished Governess about miserable C19 people so maybe I should take a break from miserable C19 people [...]

    5. When I began The Great Shame I really enjoyed it. The depth of study into the lives and exploits of the persons depicted - especially the story of Hugh Larkin, Keneally's own ancestor. This story had the most energy, but when Hugh's tale was done, so was my enthusiasm. I found the escapes and releases of the transported Young Irelanders interesting, but their move into the American politics of the Civil War era lost me and I couldn't do more than skim the last third of the book. Perhaps if this [...]

    6. It reads a bit like a textbook, but if you're looking for an in-depth account of the Irish diaspora of the 19th century, look no further. Keneally spends a great deal of time talking about Australia, as that's where his Irish ancestors ended up, and I found it interesting, as I knew nothing about the Irish in Australia. He also made a careful note of the Irish involvement in the American Civil War. Unfortunately, due to school constraints, I never finished it, but I hope to pick it up and finish [...]

    7. Ok - I didn't finish this book. It started out great. The guy is a gifted writer and he wove together more personal stories and political goings on very well. But, alas, he got terribly bogged down in the irish exile to Australia of the many key political figures during the mid 19th century. Nothing happened at that time! So, you don't have to convey real time with page after page of "nothing happened". I may come back to this one

    8. Great stories. From the same guy who did Schindler's List - ironically he's Irish-Australian. The stuff on John Boyle O'Reilly and Thomas Francis Meagher was amazing (the latter: from Irish revolutionary, to Australian convict, to celebrated General for the Union forces in the Civil War, and finally to an acting governor in the Mid-West.)

    9. I love these kinds of books, but The Great Shame became just too tedious for me. I only finished about a quarter, and I hope to revisit in the future. Keneally absolutely did his research and writes with authority, but in my eyes, this is also The Great Downfall of a potentially great book.

    10. Very long and dry book. If you LOVE Irish history you may enjoy this book. I found it difficult to maintain interest.

    11. I really wanted to like this book and thought it would be great but a word - boring. I think there should have been more of a story developed instead of the authors intent to make it as historically accurate as possible. It was obviously painstakingly researched but in the end the research took over and prevented it from being a good read. The Hugh Larkin part was interesting and a book on his life up until he died would have made a good first book. The American Civil War part was like reading a [...]

    12. Really in depth book about the struggles on the Irish.Tough reading in places as it's so heart-wrenching at times.Not for the faint-hearted.

    13. From the beloved author of Schindler’s List comes a sprawling account of the lives of dozens of Irish men (and some women) who fled or were transported from Ireland to farflung places, including principally the penal colonies of Australia, the United States, Central America, and Continental Europe. The story begins with one of Keneally’s own relatives by marriage, a minor figure named Hugh Larkin who is meant to typify the Irish in his relative anonymity, his revolutionary tendencies, his fo [...]

    14. My goal with reading this book was to provide some historical "roadmap" so I could more fully enjoy the last of Macken's Irish Trilogy. I would say it met that goal and much, much more. Keneally starts with his family history - both he and his wife are descendants of Irish men, transported to Australia. The book starts with Hugh Larkin, his crime and his transport to Australia. There is a wealth of detail about what the experience may have been like. Woven into Larkin's history are the biographi [...]

    15. Wow! This is an amazing book. The fact that it was able to keep my attention for 600 pages of very detailed and meaty writing says a lot. It was not an easy read. I had to pay close attention to what I was reading and often had to reread passages several times. But it was all worth it. The author tells the history of the Irish prisoners who were "transported" to the British penal colony in Australia in the mid 19th century. He focuses on the political prisoners who were fighting for the freedom [...]

    16. The author, Thomas Keneally of "Schindler's List" fame, begins this incredibly long and detailed book with a brief account of his ancestor, Hugh Larkin, who was a "ribbon man" transported from Ireland to Australia in the 1840s, during the great potato famine. He then moves the story to the great men of 19th-century Ireland, whose efforts to form an independent Irish republic led to punishment, exile, and, somewhat ironically, to great and influential lives in Australia and the U.S. The book was [...]

    17. Thomas Keneally is one of those rare authors who writes magnificent fiction and history. This history is the story of the 19th century diaspora of the Irish. It is a well-known history, but Keneally focuses on certain individuals as they travel from Ireland to Australia and the United States. Some are sent as criminals--either political or of actual crimes (some staggeringly small)--to Australia. Once they have served their time, they can achieve success down under--or find their way to America [...]

    18. this is a massive book which i read about ten years ago and had to have a copy because there are so many stories of different people and historical periods. from such a small island it is amazing how many emigrated to different parts of the world and most succeeded in finding a better place. as a young boy growing up in ireland we were not taught real irish history in school so there was a void in trying to understand the historical perspective of daily life there. mr. keneally and other authors [...]

    19. Very readable and good so far about 1830s Ireland, a time period I know very little about. Keneally is so good at making history readable and you can't put it down when reading about Irish people sent on prison ships to Australia for stealing food when starving. The descriptions of life in Ireland and in Australia are both so good and vivid. I think it's going to be about emigration to America too and more about Ireland but at the beginning it is about convicts settling Australia. Fascinating be [...]

    20. Finally finished this history of the Irish in Ireland, Australia and the United States after eight months of wading through the at-times dense history of my ancestors. I did read 39 other books during this time period so I can't say it took all that time to read. Sections of this book were glorious to read and other sections were painfully dense. Did I really need to know all of the minutiae about the US Civil War? Overall, I did enjoy this book, I just wish there had been a tighter editing of t [...]

    21. Well-researched history of Ireland from the time of the Great Hunger, starting around 1840, through the end of the centuryThe book covers the emigration, mainly to America, and forced migration through exile to the penal colonies of Australia and elsewhere, and subsequent escapes from them to America.Mr. Keneally has done a great job, and it reads more like a novel than a history because of how easily it flows along.

    22. To say that the author did a thorough job of research regarding the Irish of the early 19t century would be an understatement.While Keneally, the author of 'Schlinder's List', created a very long historical book, he also created a quite dry one. I struggled to pay attention (I listened to it). In all fairness, I find listening to history much more difficult than listening to fiction. Also, since it is a 35-hour listen, that could very well have factored in!

    23. Written both as family history and political history, Keneally's THE GREAT SHAME describes Irish politics during the time of the potato blight and the transportation of his forebears to Australia. We moderns treasure our mobility, and to a degree the anonymity it creates by partly severing our roots. Our heritage is still there; this is a small part of the history of recent human migration, but, like all history, it's better not to push it under the rug.

    24. A tale told with breadth, sweep and poignancy, in unforgettable stories made more forceful by their truth, this book is a wonderful look by a historian with a novelist's eye into the people, gravity and consequences of the British-Irish conflict, the famine, and the changes the Irish diaspora wrought for America, Australia, Ireland and England.

    25. I picked up a few years ago because I was planning on going to Australia and I was interested in the transportations of the Irish to Australia. What I got was so much more. These seven men influenced history not only in Australia but the North of the US, the South of the US, Central America and, of course, Ireland. It was long and very detailed, but very interesting.

    26. This book does a great job of bringing Irish history alive. From the Famine through Britain's use of deportation to manage political prisoners and up to World War I, Keneally discusses Irish history in a very even-handed manner. The language is occasionally obtuse and hard to follow, but historical figures are memorably described and movements like Fenianism are well-researched.

    27. It seems I am getting into the habit of reading hefty tomes. I wanted to read a book about my roots - Ireland. Just getting started. on this book later.Very engaging history shown through the perils and separation of an Irish family. Learning much!

    28. Perhaps the most influential and widely-read contemporary account of The Great Famine. Provides an unparalleled account of the widespread after-effects of Black '47--both in Ireland and throughout the far-flung Irish diaspora.

    29. After reading Angelas Ashes I attempted to read this . It took me a long time to get through it but is well worth the time. I love anything about Ireland/Scotland and this is a wonderful about the famine & oppression "our" ancestors endured.

    30. vast, did I say VAST, compendium of the irish diaspora, with stress on that which headed to australia, but pretty much a solid reference work on the diaspora as a whole too encyclopedic to be a "good tead" though many highly readble segments.

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