One of Canada's founding peoples, the Irish arrived in the Newfoundland fishing stations as early as the seventeenth century. By the eighteenth century they were establishing farms and settlements from Nova Scotia to the Great Lakes. Then, in the 1840s, came the failures of Ireland's potato crop, which people in the west of Ireland had depended on for survival. "And that," wrote a Sligo countryman, "was the beginning of the great trouble and famine that destroyed Ireland."
Flight from Famine is the moving account of a Victorian-era tragedy that has echoes in our own time but seems hardly credible in the light of Ireland's modern prosperity. The famine survivors who helped build Canada in the years that followed Black '47 provide a testament to courage, resilience, and perseverance. By the time of Confederation, the Irish population of Canada was second only to the French, and four million Canadians can claim proud Irish descent.
The Irish were nothing if not resilient, and MacKay peppers his book with little anecdotes linking past and present...MacKay's book is a delight to read because as a historian, he knows that the best way to engage readers is by telling the stories of ordinary people-and he does a superlative job of it.
(Naomi Lakritz Calgary Herald, The
"(Flight from Famine) is a story of survival, courage and, above all, hope."
"An intriguing and comprehensive history, Flight From Famine is highly recommended for scholarly collections."
(Midwest Book Review)
From the Back Cover
“Terrific popular history.…Death ships lurching across the Atlantic, epidemics raging in Quebec, Catholic-Protestant skirmishes in the Ottawa Valley, the body of Thomas D’Arcy McGee being paraded through packed Montreal streets.…Flight from Famine
is a testament to the resilience and courage of a community.”
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