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The End of Hidden Ireland: Rebellion, Famine, and Emigration Paperback – 1 Jun 1996


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New Ed edition (1 Jun. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195106598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195106596
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 2 x 15.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 586,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

This type of study is relatively rare in Irish historiography (Irish Historical Studies)

a microhistory of a single community (Irish Historical Studies)

approachable and readable (Irish Historical Studies)

a brillian evocation of a clash of cultures. (Frank Neal, Immigrants and Minorities, Vol.19, No.1, March 2000.)

Professor Scally describes [the Rundale] system brilliantly. (Frank Neal, Immigrants and Minorities, Vol.19, No.1, March 2000.)

With consummate skill he takes the reader through the social relationships within the population of Ballykilcline, illustrating clearly the subtle distinctions between leaders and led. He is particularly successful in analysing the abiguous position of the middle men, who provide the buffer between the Crown and tenants and who pursued their own agenda carefully editing nuanced reports to their masters in Dublin and London ... Professor Scally's book provides a valuable insight into the full complexity of the land isse. (Frank Neal, Immigrants and Minorities, Vol.19, No.1, March 2000.)

This is a thoroughly readable and scholarly work. (Frank Neal, Immigrants and Minorities, Vol.19, No.1, March 2000.)

"Engrossing and imaginative....The End of Hidden Ireland opens a window on a lost world in the process of becoming lost. Robert James Scally combines the labor of an archivist with the speculative verve of an historian of mentalities."—The Washington Post

this is one of the great strengths of the book: the author's ability to unravel the complicated web of themes and relate them in an objective manner while not detracting from the horrendous events of the period ... remarkable detail, leaving no doubt as to the roles of each group that formed the different units of society on the eve of the Famine ... there is an incredible amount of material from a wide variety of sources but in particular from the Quit Rent Papers in the National Archives ... It will become the standard reference work for local history studies of the pre-famine and famine periods.

"Well written and well researched, a distinct contribution to the subject."—Kirkus Reviews

"On the 150th anniversary of the Irish Famine, no memorial to the victims could be more fitting or more moving than Robert Scally's spectacular recreation of the life and death of the community of Ballykilcline. Painstakingly researched, lucidly written, his work provides a sudden and intimate access to a world and a series of individual lives cruelly destroyed during the terrible forties of the last century."—Seamus Deane, University of Notre Dame

"Scally's book is compulsively readable, an intimate and humane portrait of a society on the brink of dissolution."—Kevin Whelan, Royal Irish Academy, Dublin

"Professor Scally's meticulously researched book is a valuable addition to the growing body of work on the socio-political organization of rural life in Ireland in the first half of the last century. The publication of this book is a fitting memorial to the 500 or so Ballykilcline tenants who, weakened by famine, packed their meager possessions in May 1848 and headed for America."—Luke Dodd, Director, National Famine Museum of Ireland

"Robert Scally's The End of Hidden Ireland is a beautifully written, deeply researched work of historical investigation that makes an important contribution to a true accounting of the Irish past. Scally fuses modern historical methodology with forceful, elegant prose—a rare achievement. His book is a revelation."—Peter A. Quinn, author of Banished Children of Eve

"This work is based on painstaking research into an extraordinary range of primary and secondary sources. Overall it is an outstanding piece of original research—a genuine contribution to Irish, British and U.S. social history."—William J. Fishman, University of London

"Robert Scally has penetrated more deeply into the heart of "hidden Ireland" than any previous scholar, and the result is a lasting and compelling contribution to Irish history and to migration and peasant studies."—Kerby A. Miller, University of Missouri

"A highly original book whose impressive scholarship makes a significant contribution to understanding nineteenth-century Irish and North American history....This is microhistory at its best, using a small setting to expand knowledge of bigger events. It is also splendidly written and deserves a wide readership."-Choice

"Using an astonishing array of social history techniques and writing with the profound pity of a modern Villon, Professor Scally has united imagination and analysis upon the melancholy facts of a pre-famine Irish village."—Peter Linebaugh, University of Toledo

Scally fills his narrative with lively and vivid scenes ... His evocative style depicts a thriving, efficient pre-Famine community (The Irish Times)

Professor Scally's volume is painstakingly researched and well written ... a remarkable reconstruction of an Irish hamlet and of the fate of its inhabitants as they journeyed from Roscommon to Dublin, Liverpool and New York ... It is an inmportant contribution to our knowledge of the 'Hidden Ireland' in the pre-Famine period and a most valuable addition to social history. (Donal A. Kerr, Saint Patrick's College, Maynooth, EHR Sept. 97)

About the Author

Robert James Scally is Professor of History and Director of the Glucksman Ireland House at New York University.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Tocqueville called this half-hidden settlement, which he visited in Galway in 1835, "Village X." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Sean on 12 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A wonderful insight to the lives of those who had to endure eviction during the Great Irish Famine. The peasantry are recognisable people up to all the 'cute strokes' associated with resistance by the powerless.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Thorough explanation of the cause of Ireland's devistation 24 April 1998
By MEG - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Scally does an excellent job of using historical facts to present a better picture of a devistated Ireland. Americans in particular often misunderstand the cause of the chaos usually blamed on the potato blight. In reality, the famine was only the "icing on the cake", which Scally explains well. The first half of the book is a very detailed description of Ireland in the days immediately preceeding the famine. The second half walks us through the once-green hills of a broken Ireland, passing sunken faces and hungry eyes. Scally has been accused of leaving historical fact for emotional imagination. I submit the idea that every historian must create something from imagination at some point. Although we can read facts, we must paint the scenes in our minds. This is an excellent book to read if you are already interested in "Black '47" and is also good for the serious reader who cares to explore the Emerald Isle of 150 years ago . . . this is also an important source for an Irish-American who would like to better understand his or her roots, like me. Perhaps those of us who have ties to the isle are more likely to appreciate the suffering that happened there.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Shocking reading about my own ancestors. 2 July 2001
By "dfraser@webweather.com" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The trauma and distress my own ancestors went through during this famine period was horrible. In the ten year period Ballykilcline lost over 90% of its population from disease, eviction, emigration and death by starvation. My own ancestors lived in Kilglass Parish where they lost 55% of their population. Robert James Scally's book gave me a very clear understanding of what transpired from about 1835 to 1850.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Very VERY comprehensive 21 April 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I give this book a "7" mostly because Scally should get a lot of credit for all the research he did for this book. It's very obvious. However, I would not recommend it if you are looking for a quick and easy read. This book is best for someone studying the famine and migration of the Irish to America.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A scholarly picture with limitations 30 Mar. 2008
By Albert Doyle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robert Scally's book is the product of detailed research into the wiping out of the Irish village or "townland" of Ballykilcline in County Roscommon around the time of the great famine of the mid 19th century in Ireland and the forced emigration of its people to the Liverpool area of Lancashire and to the United States and Canada.

The book starts with a description of the British imposed land ownership system in Ireland at the time, the landlords' financial difficulties which led to their desire to clear the land of their troublesome tenants by assisting them on their way, made easier by the famine.

But the book presents an incomplete picture because of Scally's failure to consider context and history.

Even the title is misleading. "Hidden Ireland", presumably meaning the remnant of the Gaelic culture which still stubbornly remained in the culture and language of the townland people and particularly in their attitude about use and ownership of land, had been receding in defeat for many years. Starting in 1607 with the defeat of the great northern leaders, O'Neill and O'Donnell and the "Flight of the Earls", the slow removal of native Irish leaders and the seizure of land by the colonizers, the Penal Laws of 1695 effectively proscribing the Catholic religion, and the Act of Union in 1800 after the United Irishman rebellion of 1798 were all aimed at destroying the Gaelic, Catholic, Irish nation. In fact they were never completely successful, and certainly the effort did not end with the leveling of Ballykilcline although it was a part of a low point for the Irish nation.

The Irish people were never fully subjugated; nor were the peasants the docile, cultureless ignoramuses painted by Scally, poor though they may have been. It was these very peasant people who supported Daniel O'Connell, the Catholic "Liberator" in his mass rallies in 1823, the more radical Fenians in 1860, Michael Davitt's National Land League in 1879 and the Sinn Fein movement founded in 1905 which finally won victory in elections for the Irish Dail and ultimately Ireland's freedom from Britain. "Hidden Ireland" has in many ways never disappeared and has emerged in our times, wounded but victorious, perhaps in a slightly different form.

History is an unfolding tapestry, not a snapshot of a limited period. It is this which gives Scally's dismal portrait its dark and false color. If one does not understand the traditional Irish view of land ownership and cooperative use and its conflict with the English "metes and bounds" system which the conquerors saw as normal one cannot understand the views of the townland people. The old Gaelic and Brehon legal system of course did give way in our times. Another example of Scally's puzzlement is that he doesn't seem to realize that the Irish people saw the National School system brought by the English, in spite of its advanced, modern benefits, as part of the English plan to destroy their national culture and language and for that reason it was never fully accepted.

The famine, the overwhelming catastrophe which struck the Irish people at the time of this narrative appears in the book only as backgound even though Scally's excellent footnotes tell that he was well aware of the facts and the impact of British laissez faire economic policies on the victims. He seems more interested in legal pleadings about unpaid rents.

And his attitude toward the local Catholic clergy approaches downright ignorant hostility. As virtually the only educated people in the Irish community when they defended their people against perceived injustices he joins the English Protestant view of them as hot-headed trouble makers, a description not supportd by their actual words quoted in the book.

The latter parts of the book about conditions in the Liverpool area are the best part in my view. There is less about the immigrants to the United States which is surprising and more could have been said about Canada where the many Canadians showed great compassion for the suffering of the famine immigrants at Grosse Isle.

I regret to have dwelt on what I see as the defects in this otherwise excellent book but I feel that it's lack of historical context presents an incomplete picture. I recommend it for its general subject matter however.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An end of hidden realities of Irish history 17 Aug. 2013
By Gerard D. Casale - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is by far the most penetrating account of rural Ireland immediately before and during the Great Hunger that I have seen. Scally's researches into the actual living conditions and agendas of the rural tenants, landlords, middlemen and government will be a revelation to many.
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