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Flight from Famine: The Coming of the Irish to Canada and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
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Flight from Famine: The Coming of the Irish to Canada Paperback – Mar 23 2009

3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Dundurn (March 23 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554884187
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554884186
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 2.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #252,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


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."

(The Novascotian)

"An intriguing and comprehensive history, Flight From Famine is highly recommended for scholarly collections."

(Midwest Book Review)

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.

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.”
–Montreal Gazette --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 17 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book to help me understand our family genealogy, & I felt like I stumbled on a treasure. The book is very detailed, but it grabs the facts, the heartache & the resolve of an amazing people. Most modern Canadians may not realize the events' importance, but the coming of the Irish changed this country in an important way. I cannot recommend this book enough.
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By Daffy Bibliophile TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 16 2015
Format: Paperback
"Flight From Famine" is a well-written popular history of the often overlooked story of the Irish in Canada. It's easy to find books about the English, the French and, to a lesser extent, the Scottish in Canadian History. The Irish are often overlooked or falsely portrayed as lazy drunks. Donald MacKay presents a more balanced portrayal. The book starts with the early years of Irish fishermen coming for the fishing season off Newfoundland in the mid-seventeenth century and ends in the early twentieth century with the dedication of a monument on Grosse Isle to the thousands of Irish who died making the voyage from their famine-stricken homeland in 1847. The reader is given a look at the conditions in Ireland in the early- to mid-nineteenth century and at the daunting conditions the emigrants faced during the voyage across the Atlantic and when their voyage was completed. One note of interest: the forests in Ireland were chopped down many centuries ago, hence the Irish immigrants in Canada had to learn how to chop down trees in the dense bush; but learn they did and they went on to prosper. Despite a few cases of religious violence and bigotry (in many cases brought about by the taunts of the Orange Lodge in Upper Canada) the Irish in Canada seem to have left the old quarrels behind them. They worked hard, they lived free and they prospered.
A well-documented book complete with a political map of Ireland, illustrations, bibliography and index.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent book for those interested in history and especially that of the Irish but also those interested in the hardships suffered by all those seeking a better life in a new country. I especially enjoyed the personal glimpses into individuals and excerpts from letters and their personal diaries. A very interesting read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An intriguing and comprehensive history Aug. 17 2009
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
America was not the only place Europeans looked to for salvation from the problems of the Old World. "Flight from Famine: The Coming of the Irish to Canada" tells the story of the Irish who came to the America's northern neighbor when the infamous potato famine wreaked havoc and starvation upon Ireland's population. An intriguing and comprehensive history, "Flight From Famine" is highly recommended for scholarly collections.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Eye Opener on the Irish Migration Nov. 23 2014
By Patrick R McGill - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If your ancestors hail from Canada and they are Irish this book gives you some idea of what they went through when they came to the New World. It's truly amazing that any of the Irish actually made it... God Bless the French, they took in the orphans, without changing their names
Five Stars April 25 2015
By Knitpurlnana - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thorough research!

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