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Making Sense of the Molly Maguires Hardcover – 1 Feb 1998


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (1 Feb. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195106644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195106640
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 3 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 596,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Professor Kenny's scholarly work is a valuable addition to the literature on the Molly Maguires and an aid to understanding this tragic episode in the history of Irish-Ammerican immigrant labour. (Seanchas Ard Mhacha: Journal of the Armagh Diocesan Historical Society)

Few have ever heard of the Pennsylvanian Molly Maguires. Kevin Kelly certainly makes sense of them in a generously subsidised book which is meticulously researched and referenced, includes enough statistics to support his arguments, and is packed with fascinating details. (Charles Chenevix Trench, Irish Independent (Dublin))

About the Author

Kevin Kenny is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin.

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First Sentence
Contrary to the nineteenth-century conspiracy theorists, it is highly unlikely that an organization called the "Molly Maguires" was imported directly from Ireland to the United States. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Feb. 1999
Format: Paperback
A very well-researched and detailed account of the Molly Maguires in Pennsylvania. Cuts through the myths and concentrates on the facts. Gives a very good depiction of life in the coal region at the time (much of the language, culture, etc. is still present in the region today). Also good background information on the Mollies origins in Ireland. A very scholarly work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
The Molly Maguire Era is one of the most tangled and complex in United States history. Kevin Kenny has done a masterful job of untangling the complexities and cross currents involved here. There was more evil than enough on both sides of the conflict. New evidence compiled in the last twenty years puts a very different light on this woeful period of American history.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tony Barber on 5 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is the definitive work on one of the most obscure and easily misunderstood episodes in the history of the United States between 1865 and 1901. Kenny demonstrates that the outbreak of Irish-related violence in the anthracite region of eastern Pennsylvania in the 1860s and 1870s was fundamentally a reflection of the area's sharpening confrontation between capital and labour. Working conditions and wages in the mines were a constant source of grievance, and there was ample scope for ethnic rivalries involving nativist Americans as well as English, Welsh and Irish immigrants. At the same time, the Irish drew on a tradition of violent protest against social conditions that was rooted in the rural areas of north-west and northern Ireland where most of them originated. The Molly Maguires of Pennsylvania were not some terrible, far-reaching conspiracy, as alleged at the time by prosecutors, Pinkerton private detectives and the press. But there was indeed a minority of Irish-born individuals willing to kill mining officials and destroy property. Public hysteria was deliberately whipped up by those, such as the railroad and mining companies, with a clear interest in breaking the union movement. As Kenny shows, the trials that led to the hangings of 20 alleged Molly Maguires were in many respects a travesty of justice. But if they suppressed "Molly Maguireism" forever, they did not stop violent assaults by public and semi-public authorities on American trade unionists for decades to come.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Excellent, very well-researched book 2 Feb. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A very well-researched and detailed account of the Molly Maguires in Pennsylvania. Cuts through the myths and concentrates on the facts. Gives a very good depiction of life in the coal region at the time (much of the language, culture, etc. is still present in the region today). Also good background information on the Mollies origins in Ireland. A very scholarly work.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Full consideration of a complex historical event 21 Dec. 2002
By Christopher R Burk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Kenny digs into the broader social and historical forces that operated in the Irish coal miners and the community in which they found themselves. The events under review are themselves shocking. Like the 9/11 attacks, they seem almost incomprehensible because of their violence and the drama surrounding the events. The Molly Maguries were more than simple killers -- the women's clothing, for example, is a clue that something beyond a simple murder. Kenny gives his explanation of WHY events unfolded as they did.
Kenny has a scholarly point to make and academic readers will be rewarded with Kenny's solid analysis. This is a serious work on a serious subject. It is well worth a bit of intellectual effort. It also makes a fine addition to the reading list of an upper level undergraduate or graduate history course. However, the general reader with an interest in Irish-American history, labor history, and/or European immigrant history will also find this book interesting and informative.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
SHOCKING DETAIL 23 Aug. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
After reading Mr. Kenny's account of the Mollys, I have a much better understanding of what really transpired in the coal fields of Eastern Pennsylvania over 100 years ago. Going beyond the typical view of the Mollys as a band of drunken criminals of Irish origin, Kenny tells of the political and corporate corruption that existed in the 1850s to 1880s. While not displaying total sympathy for the Mollys - since many did fit the stereotypical image, Kenny's accounts will change one's perspective of this group. Well worth reading.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Kenny really did his homework 15 Feb. 2002
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
His explanation of the beginning of the union and the people it involved was very clear.There were a lot of details on the exploitation of mineworkers of that era. This is a one the best on the subject.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The who, what and why of the Mollies finally explained. 19 Mar. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The who, what and why of the Mollies has been muddied by time and myth. Kenny clarifys the mud and myth in this straightforward, honest assessment of the Molly Maguires and those who were obsessed with their demise. A truly excellent work and a must for anyone interested in Molly lore.
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