The first "translantic" history of the Irish, Emigrants and Exiles promises to become a landmark in our understanding of this important emigration movement.
From the early 1600s to the early 1900s, no fewer than seven million people emigrated from Ireland to north America. This vast flow amounted to much more than mere numbers: it at once reflected and compelled enormous social changes on both sides of the Atlantic. Emigrants and Exiles chronicles the momentous causes of the Irish emigration and its far-reaching impacton the people themselves, on the land they left behind, and on the new one they came to.
Drawing on enormous original research, Kerby Miller focuses on the thought and behavior of the "ordinary" Irish emigrants, Catholic and Protestant, as revealed in their personal letters, diaries, journals and memoirs as well as in their songs, poems, and folklore. He finds that while many were eager newcomers to "the land of promise," many more saw themselves as involuntary "exiles" who had been forced to leave Ireland by cruel fate or British oppression. The exile mentality, Miller shows, was deeply rooted in Irish history, culture, and personality, and it profoundly affected the traumatic course of modern Irish history even as it shaped the Irish-American experience in very particular ways. The impressive scope of Miller's work embraces all the successive waves of Irish emigration, and he fills the book with rich human detail.
About the Author:Kerby A. Miller is Associate Professor of History at the University of Missouri, Columbia.