The five books below come from my annual stack of those bought, borrowed, or received as personal gifts or publisher promotions. Perhaps one or all of them will make a perfect gift for a special reader on your seasonal shopping list … or for yourself. Titles are linked to sales sites. Happy holidays. MH
- Justice Daniel Cohalan 1865-1946: American patriot and Irish-American nationalist, Michael Doorley, Cork University Press, 2019.
Doorley authored the earlier Irish-American Diaspora Nationalism: The Friends of Irish Freedom, 1916-1935, a key text for understanding the U.S. front of the Irish War of Independence. Cohalan was a major figure of the period and a close associate of the Irish immigrant nationalist John Devoy. This book is a welcome first biography of the “Judge.” Read Doorley’s 2020 guest post about the friction between Cohalan and Éamon de Valera.
- The Sons Of Molly Maguire: The Irish Roots of American’s First Labor War, Mark Bulik, Fordham University Press, 2015.
This was my surprise find of the year and a welcome diversion from “Decade of Centenaries” reading. Bulik is a senior editor at The New York Times. He offers fascinating details about the birth of Irish secret societies, their transformation in the coal fields of Pennsylvania, and their impact on U.S. Civil War conscription and 19th century labor unrest.
- Always Ireland: An Insider’s Tour of the Emerald Isle, Jack Kavanagh, Disney (National Geographic), 2023
“A next-generation travel guide for an age when nearly all of us carry smartphones that put all the practical details at our fingertips,” I wrote in my February interview with the author. Kavanagh’s May guest post about the ‘Spirit of the West’ was based on reporting for the book.
- Kathy White House – Kathy Buckley, Her Culinary Odyssey, Vincent Carmody, Poundlane Publications, 2023.
Financier and banker John Pierpont “JP” Morgan recruited Buckley, of Listowel, County Kerry, to work at his New York City mansion early in the 20th century. Her U.S. culinary adventures eventually brought her to the White House, where she cooked for presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. This image-laden book includes some of her forgotten recipes. (Disclosure: I’m always happy to support literary efforts from North Kerry, my ancestral home.)
- Becoming Irish American: The Making and Remaking of a People from Roanoke to JFK, Timothy J. Meagher, Yale University Press, 2023.
A fresh appraisal by the former associate professor of history at Catholic University of America and the curator of American Catholic History Collections. This book arrives at the 60th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, at the time followed by the groundbreaking release of The American Irish by journalist William V. Shannon. He later became U.S. Ambassador to Ireland in the Carter administration. I’m arranging an interview with Meagher for early 2024. Please check back.