Synopses & Reviews
The "textures" of the Irish-American experience have been manifold, greatly influencing this country's economic, social, and cultural development over the past two centuries. Unlike that of many other European immigrants, the Irish journey to America was viewed largely as a one-way trip. They quickly adjusted to America, soon becoming citizens and active participants in politics. By the end of the 19th century, they dominated not only most American cities but also sports, especially baseball, and many were prominent in show business. In this entertaining study of one of America's most engaging and controversial groups, Lawrence McCaffrey reveals how the Irish adapted to urban life, progressing from unskilled working class to solid middle class. Denied power and influence in business and commerce, they achieved both through politics and the Catholic church. In addition to politicians and churchmen, McCaffrey discusses the roles of writers such as Finley Peter Dunne, James T. Farrell, Eugene O'Neill, J. F. Powers, Edwin O'Connor, William Kennedy, Elizabeth Cullinan, Tom Flanagan, Thomas Fleming, Jimmy Breslin, and John Gregory Dunne, as well as such film stars as Jimmy Cagney, Bing Crosby, Grace and Gene Kelly, and Spencer Tracy. McCaffrey completes the story with a look at the role of Irish nationalism in developing the personality of Irish America and in liberating Ireland from British colonialism. The result of some forty years of thinking and writing about Irish-American life, McCaffrey's Textures will appeal to scholars and general readers alike and may very well become the standard work on Irish America.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 207-223) and index.