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The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero

The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero

Написано Timothy Egan

Озвучено Gerard Doyle


The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero

Написано Timothy Egan

Озвучено Gerard Doyle

оценки:
4.5/5 (32 оценки)
Длина:
14 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Mar 1, 2016
ISBN:
9781480562783
Формат:
Аудиокнига

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Описание

From the National Book Award-winning and bestselling author Timothy Egan comes the epic story of one of the most fascinating and colorful Irishman in nineteenth-century America.

The Irish-American story, with all its twists and triumphs, is told through the improbable life of one man. A dashing young orator during the Great Famine of the 1840s, in which a million of his Irish countrymen died, Thomas Francis Meagher led a failed uprising against British rule, for which he was banished to a Tasmanian prison colony. He escaped and six months later was heralded in the streets of New York-the revolutionary hero, back from the dead, at the dawn of the great Irish immigration to America.

Meagher's rebirth in America included his leading the newly formed Irish Brigade from New York in many of the fiercest battles of the Civil War-Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg. Twice shot from his horse while leading charges, left for dead in the Virginia mud, Meagher's dream was that Irish-American troops, seasoned by war, would return to Ireland and liberate their homeland from British rule.

The hero's last chapter, as territorial governor of Montana, was a romantic quest for a true home in the far frontier. His death has long been a mystery to which Egan brings haunting, colorful new evidence.

Издатель:
Издано:
Mar 1, 2016
ISBN:
9781480562783
Формат:
Аудиокнига

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Об авторе

TIMOTHY EGAN is a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter, a New York Times columnist, winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for excellence in nonfiction. His previous books include The Worst Hard Time, which won a National Book Award, and the national bestseller The Big Burn. He lives in Seattle, Washington. 


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  • (4/5)
    A great and compelling tale of Irish history in the middle of the 19th century which blends intensely with American history of the same time frame including a brutal account of some of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War.The book is well written and generally easy to follow, though having a background on the periods covered certainly helps to keep up with the sometimes fast pace of the story. My only criticism is that the author seems to gloss over certain events which would have been significant both historically and for Thomas Meagher. Fans of historical literature will enjoy this, as will people with a taste for Irish history or the history of the American Civil War.
  • (5/5)
    Immortal Irishman is the story of Thomas Francis Meagher (pronounced Mahr) who was born into a wealthy Waterford family, became an Irish orator and revolutionary, and spoke out against the British during the Great Hunger. For his activities against the crown, he was first sentenced to death but then transported to Tasmania to live out his sentence. From there he escaped and traveled to New York. During the Civil War, he fought for the Union and was appointed a General by President Lincoln. He recruited his fellow Irishmen to form the Irish Brigade, leading them in the bloody battle at Antietam. Bereft and disillusioned after the war, he headed West and was appointed acting governor of the Montana Territory. His death could be its own murder-mystery. His life, really two lives, was filled with pain, longing, and heartache but also optimism and faith - a true adventure - and Timothy Egan did a great job telling it. It may have started a little slow, but it's a true page-turner, peppered with fascinating bits of information. You probably don’t need to be Irish to love it, but it doesn’t hurt.
  • (5/5)
    Thomas Francis Meagher was born into a wealthy family in Ireland, yet at the time the rights of Catholics under British law were still severely restricted. As he was growing up to be an educated, idealistic young man, a disaster was beginning to unfold in Ireland: the start of the Great Famine.

    The vast majority of Ireland's Catholics lived almost entirely dependent on the potato crop, een as the lands of the absentee landlords whose fields they worked produced large crops of vegetables and grain, as well as beef and lamb and pork, which were almost entirely sold at export. When the potato crop failed not one year but several years in a row, those other crops continued to be exported, while the Irish peasants starved to death, or fled Ireland in what became known as "coffin ships" because so many of their passengers died.

    There's an important point to understand here. The blight that caused the potato crop to fail in Ireland was a natural disaster, but the famine that followed wasn't. Ireland wasn't the only country where many relied on potatoes as a major part of their diet, and it wasn't the only country where that crop was struck by blight. It was the only country where this crop failure cause a widespread and lasting famine.

    The United Kingdom had made a series of political decisions over the previous few centuries that made the Irish so dependent on the potato, and so dependent on scratching a living for large families from increasingly tiny patches of ground. Then they made another series of decisions, when the potato crop failed, not to divert any of the export crops to feeding Ireland's starving peasants, to make it easier for the absentee landlords to squeeze the peasants into giving up their land, and to obstruct foreign efforts to send food aide to Ireland. Notable sources of that help and of international pressure to allow the relief supplies in to Ireland were the USA and France, but they weren't the only sources.

    In some ways, Egan is a bit hard on the English, many of whom contributed generously to private relief efforts for the Irish.

    On the other hand, it was English commitment to its mercantilist policies, the deification of the "free market," and the profound English racism towards the Irish, that prevented the kind of large-scale efforts necessary to actually prevent the famine or end it once it began. Instead, the blight simply ran its course, over several years, while people starved, emigrated, or, condemned for crimes ranging from stealing a loaf of bread to feed the family to rebellion against British rule, and the population of Ireland was reduced by more than two million.

    Thomas Francis Meagher was one of the transported, shipped off to Australia.

    His crime wasn't stealing a loaf of bread. He was one of the leaders of the Rebellion of 1848, one of the leaders of the Young Ireland group of Irish nationalists more radical than the revered Daniel O'Connell.

    Egan gives us a detailed and compelling account of Meagher's growth from prank-prone schoolboy to young poet and orator to leader of Young Ireland--and then his continued growth, development, and public life after the 1848 rebellion. Sentenced to life in Australia--specifically, the penal colony on the island now called Tasmania but was then known as Van Diemen's Land, he escaped to the United States. That one sentence captures nothing of either the events, or the man Meagher was becoming.

    On arriving in San Francisco, he was feted as a hero, made his way to New York City, and very gradually got drawn in to the increasingly turbulent political events leading up to the Civil War. Meagher was still dedicated to the cause of Irish freedom, and initially felt the impending American Civil War, and the plight of the black slaves, was not his business. Yet despite himself it became his business, and he raised, and then commanded, and led into battle, the 69th New York Brigade--the Irish Brigade, or Meagher's Brigade.

    This Irishman, this Catholic, the man who was still a condemned and wanted fugitive, became one of the most storied heroes of the Civil War. After the war, he studied law, worked as a journalist, gave speeches, and became acting governor of the Montana Territory. He was serving as Acting Governor when he died.

    Egan does a much, much better job than I do of recounting all this. The role of Irish-Americans in the American Civil War is large and complicated, and there was an Irish Brigade on the Confederate side as well. Meagher himself didn't start out as an advocate of abolition, but evolved towards it eventually seeing it as the only path consistent with the same American values that had given him refuge.

    His was a colorful, significant life, affecting history on three continents, and Egan does a marvelous job of recounting it.

    A final, personal note: I've known for a long time that periodic outbursts of xenophobia have been one of the recurring features of American history, with the descendants--often the children--of each wave of immigrants condemning later waves as inherently unAmerican and diluting the pure and true character of the country. I hadn't quite realized until now that the same rants against the Irish in the 19th century, with simple word substitution, would be difficult to distinguish from today's rants against "Muslims" or "Mexicans." Food for thought!

    Recommended.

    I bought this book.
  • (4/5)
    Thomas Francis Meagher was an Irish patriot who was exiled by the English to Tasmania. He escaped and traveled to America where he led an Irish company as a General for the Union in the American Civil War. Post-war, he traveled to the West, where he became the acting governor Montana. I hadn't heard of him before, but this is a fascinating life, well-told.
  • (4/5)
    This 2016 book tells the story of Thomas Francis Meagher, born in Waterford, Ireland, on Aug 3, 1823, educated at Stonyhurst in England, a Jesuit school, active in opposition to British rule in Ireland, condemned to death for speaking against such rule, exiled to Tasmania, escaped from there and fought for the Union in the Civil War, and then acted for the U.S. Government in Montana Territory. The story is carefully told, including defects in the hero's character, but showing his heroic character. I found the book often exciting reading, especially the account of the horrendous Civil War action. There is no bibliography and the source notes are not very exact--neither footnote numbers nor pages. So while there obviously was a lot of research done, it is not easy to find the exact sources for some statements. On page 310 there is a picture of the impressive monument erected in 1905 to Meagher at Helena, Montana, which anyone visiting Helena should be sure to take a look at.
  • (5/5)
    Another great book by Egan. Entertaining, while going into the how and why of Irish history.
  • (4/5)
    The Immortal Irishman is a laudatory history of Thomas Francis Meagher, a proponent of Irish independence from the British in the 1840's, to fighting for the U.S. as general of the vaunted Irish Brigade during the American Civil War.

    A brilliant and literary orator, Meagher raised emotions on all sides. During the potato famine in Ireland he fomented troubles against the British, for which he was sentenced to death, and then in a gesture of leniency, sentenced to the penal colony in Tasmania for life. After a successful escape and refuge in the U.S., before, during and after the U.S. Civil War, he ran afoul of almost every group with an opinion on slavery, including the Irish and the Catholic church. After the war, as Secretary and acting-Governor of the Montana Territory, he raised the ire of those whose opinion of frontier justice included a gun and a noose rather than a system of laws.

    Egan's prose, as read by Gerard Doyle, is almost as lyrical as his subject and makes you wish you could go back to hear the great orator speak. Meagher packed much into his brief 43 years on earth, and Egan does an excellent job recounting the experiences of Meagher and those around him. Egan obviously thinks highly of Meagher, and even when listing some of his faults, does so with reasoned excuses and apologies.

    Meagher's story is a compelling one, and provides a jumping off point for reading more about the colorful figures who surrounded him.
  • (5/5)
    The story of a well-educated rebellious young man with a gift for words and a silver tongue. He and other leaders of Young Ireland tried to organize a rebellion during the time of Ireland's Great Hunger. Thomas Francis Meagher was banished to Tasmania, otherwise known as Van Diemen's Land, for life. He would escape from there and make his way to America where he would become the darling of the New York Irish. He led the Irish Brigade in the Civil War with the expectation that veterans of that war would serve as troops to free Ireland. The problem was the Civil War lasted longer than anyone expected and though the Irish Brigade fought fiercely they lost so many men that they ceased to exist as a brigade. Meagher couldn't recruit any more replacements and a draft sparked a damaging riot in New York. He wound up as Acting Governor of the Montana Territory and standing against the Vigilance Committee who ran the territory using terror. No one knew who or why they'd decide to hang next. He'd been acting governor for two years when he went to Fort Benton to attempt to collect weapons from William T. Sherman for use against the Native Americans and his back pay. He disappeared off the deck G.A. Thompson and was never seen again. A very well written book!
  • (5/5)
    How have most Americans never heard of Thomas Francis Meagher before? Egan presents an incredible story for anyone interested in Irish history, Civil War history, New York City history, or the early history of Montana before it was a state. Meagher got around and made an impact wherever he went. Highly recommended!
  • (5/5)
    Excellently told story of Thomas Meagher, born in the early 1880's in Ireland to a wealthy, conservative Irish family. Thomas was sent to the best schools but was often kicked out for his rebellious nature. When the famine came to Ireland, his rebellion took a public turn as he became one of the Young Ireland movement, a movement demanding freedom from the rule of Britain. Thomas's involvement in the movement led him to be convicted and sentenced to "transportation" which mean a prison on the island of what is now Tasmania, an island off the coast of Australia used by the British as a place to send convicts. Because he was of aristocratic background, he was warded some freedom on the island, but once again his rebellion led him to a more severe part of the island. During his time in Tasmania, Thomas met and fell in love with the daughter of another convict, Catherine Bennett. Thomas' fellow Irishmen felt he was marrying far beneath himself and refused to attend the wedding. Finally unable to remain a prisoner, Thomas planned an escape with the help of his father' money. Since Catherine was pregnant, she was unable to go with him. Thomas was able to make a harrowing escape and eventually wound up in New York, since there was no way he could go back to Ireland. Eventually Catherine was able to travel to Ireland under the care of her father-in-law; there she gave birth to a son but died in childbirth.The story then moves to the United States and the coming of the Civil War. The Irish were emigrating by droves into the US due to the famine in Ireland. They were the poorest of the poor and treated as such. Thomas was able to join up with several of his earlier friends from the Young Ireland movement. There was much disagreement among the Irish on the cause of slavery. Irish themselves having been almost slaves in their own country, were fearful of the idea of freeing the American slaves due to many reasons, one of such was the lack of jobs.Although he was never trained as a soldier, Meagher eventually got a "political appointment" as a military leader. He gathered many Irish into a battalion first known as the Zouaves and later as the 69th Battalion. His first commander was General Sherman who hated the Irish and treated them as farm animals; he made fun of their music and their love for poetry. There is much history to Meagher's time during the Civil War and his turn from Irish hero to one hated after the Draft Riots in New York City (the poor Irish rioted and destroyed much of the town over the fact that they were drafted and had to fight in place of richer men who could pay for replacements). Being Irish was a two-sided coin: praised for their extreme bravery, yet looked down upon for their poverty, inclination to drink and their love for poetry and music. The book does a great job in outlining the dilemmas of Lincoln during the war.During this time, Meagher meets his second wife, Elizabeth Townsend, the daughter of a wealthy New York. Libby, as she was known, fully supported Thomas in his efforts to fight for his new country and his efforts to free Ireland from British rule. After the war, Meagher heads to the American frontier where he wanted to establish a New Ireland in the area of Montana. Totally without law and order, the territory was a mixture of Confederate deserters, Freemasons (who hated the Catholics), and outlaws. Meagher is appointed as acting governor of the territory but faced huge opposition. His final days and mysterious death was on a riverboat where he was said to drown; however, there is much speculation as to his actual cause of death. There is a monument in Helena Montana of Meagher.A well researched, interesting, and well-writing story of a man I had never heard of, but one that was such an influence to the Irish and played such an important part in the Civil War. Loved it!
  • (4/5)
    Egan tells a great story, and I certainly learned a lot about the Great Famine in Ireland and the English mistreatment of the Irish, but why the book is titled the "immortal" Irishman is beyond me, since its subject was an always promising fellow who never quite accomplished his goals.
  • (5/5)
    With this book you can learn both about American and Irish history. Young people with vision problems are so lucky to have access to such wonderful audio books.
  • (5/5)
    Very well written and well read. This book provided me with glimpses into Irish and American history that I might never have known otherwise. Thank you to the author and reader.
  • (4/5)
    This one took me three months to listen to. I kept getting interrupted. I finally finished it in the middle of the pandemic. I had never heard of Thomas Francis Meagher, so it was a delight to learn more about him, even though his life seem to be one big battle with the world.Well written and narrated.
  • (4/5)
    I never knew how badly the Irish were treated by the English until I read this book. While their potato crops failed and people starved they were forced to export crops and food to England. This leads Thomas Francis Meagher, the subject of this book, into plotting against the British government. He is sent to a penal colony near Australia for his trouble, which lead to another opportunity to learn more about something I knew very little about. Eventually he makes his was to the United States, becomes a U.S. Citizen, and becomes involved in politics, the Civil War and all sorts of other historical events. It's like an Irish "Forrest Gump" type story and I really appreciated learning about these different aspects of history through the life of one man. I also enjoyed the delightful Irish accent of the narrator of the audio book version, which certainly fit the decidedly Irish nature of the story and it's protagonist. I'd definitely recommend this book to history buffs.
  • (5/5)
    Excellent narration brings the characters to life. Fine writing style.
  • (5/5)
    How did I not know this story? This is a must read/listen for anyone delving into Irish history. I am ashamed at my ignorance and perhaps even the nation's lack of understanding of the role the Irish played in the Civil War. Most shattering is the treatment the Irish received at home. Thank you for this most thoughtful work that truly touched my heart. The narrator is superb! up until now, I've never been compelled to read a book twice. This book is abundantly rich in ingredients; details I must contine to explore!
  • (4/5)
    Thomas Francis Meagher was the son of a wealthy Irish family who was sent to Tasmanian prison for his political agitation during the Irish famine; he escaped and came to America, where he ultimately became a Union general and then acting governor of the Montana territory. He had quite a life, mostly tragic in his aspirations and experiences. If you want an ambiguously inspiring version of the endless American promise, here it is.
  • (4/5)
    A biography of Thomas F. Meagher, whose colorful life included designing the Irish tricolor flag; being sentenced to death for treason (by hanging, drawing and quartering, commuted to transportation to Tasmania for life); escape to the United States; admission to the bar; marriage to a socialite (who was then disinherited); serving as a general of the Irish Brigade in the Union Army; and Acting Governor of Montana Territory. Being of Irish descent, author Timothy Egan doesn’t hide his sympathy and admiration for Meagher – and Meagher’s certainly deserving of both. However, Egan’s argument that Meagher’s death was a murder rests on flimsy, circumstantial evidence. An easy and entertaining read otherwise.
  • (5/5)
    What an incredible life. An important biography that is very well told.
  • (5/5)
    Immortal Irishman is the story of Thomas Francis Meagher (pronounced Mahr) who was born into a wealthy Waterford family, became an Irish orator and revolutionary, and spoke out against the British during the Great Hunger. For his activities against the crown, he was first sentenced to death but then transported to Tasmania to live out his sentence. From there he escaped and traveled to New York. During the Civil War, he fought for the Union and was appointed a General by President Lincoln. He recruited his fellow Irishmen to form the Irish Brigade, leading them in the bloody battle at Antietam. Bereft and disillusioned after the war, he headed West and was appointed acting governor of the Montana Territory. His death could be its own murder-mystery. His life, really two lives, was filled with pain, longing, and heartache but also optimism and faith - a true adventure - and Timothy Egan did a great job telling it. It may have started a little slow, but it's a true page-turner, peppered with fascinating bits of information. You probably don?t need to be Irish to love it, but it doesn?t hurt.
  • (5/5)
    Living in Montana, I knew Thomas Meagher through the eyes of Montana history. He was Montana's first governor, seen as a drunkard and a wastrel, not to be taken seriously, who died probably through his own drunkenness. I thought the statue of Meagher, erected by Butte's Irish miners in front of the State Capital Building, was a conundrum and a bit of a joke. It depicts Meager on horseback, sword in hand. Timothy Egan's latest narrative non-fiction tells a different story. I had no idea that Meagher is revered as an Irish champion and a Civil War hero. Thomas Meagher was born in Ireland, the heir of the ancient Waterford estate, still a rich and powerful family in Ireland under the British rule.He was enraged by the British treatment of the Irish during the Potato Famine. This was a time when a million Irish died of starvation, another millions more died of disease or fled the country in what came to be known as 'coffin ships'. Yet during this time, Ireland was still exporting food to Britain – including grains, and meat in quantities which would have easily ended the starvation. The Irish worked in the fields of their British landlords, producing this food in a system that bore a strong resemblance to slavery. In exchange for their work, they were given small plots of land to raise food for themselves. These plots were small enough that the only crop productive enough to feed a family was potatoes. So when a devastating new blight rotted the potato plants in the fields, their subsistence crop was gone and the Irish had no access to the crops they were growing for their British landlords. Enraged by this callous treatment that was causing the loss of so many lives, Meagher and others began calling for Irish Independence, in a movement that came to be known as The Young Irish Rebellion. Meagher, as one of the leaders, was betrayed, caught and sentenced to execution. At the last minute, Meagher's sentence was commuted to banishment for life from Ireland and his ancestral estates. He was transported to the Australian penal colony of Tasmania.His life there was fascinating as was his subsequent escape to America. Once in the United States, it became clear that the Irish were held in contempt. It was partly to alleviate this feeling and bring honor to the Irish name, that Meagher organized the Irish regiment that fought for the North in the US Civil War. With Meagher as general, the regiment was pivotal in many important battles. But however well and nobly they fought, and even honored by President Lincoln himself, there was still strong prejudice against them in many parts of the popular press and US society.After the war, Meagher headed to Montana Territory. He dreamed of establishing an Irish homeland there, much as the Mormons had done in Utah. He was appointed the first governor of Montana. However, he immediately fell afoul of the Vigilantes, who believed they had the law in their hands and who were both anti-Catholic and as anti-Irish.After numerous death threats from the Vigilantes, Meagher mysteriously fell from a steamboat on the Missouri River, and, although a strong swimmer, apparently drowned in a few feet of water. His body was never found.Thomas Dimsdale, a prominent member of the Vigilantes and author of the subsequently popular book [The Vigilantes of Montana], was the one to write Meagher's history in Montana. Not until I heard Timothy Egan speak and then read this book, did I realize the different version of Meagher's life, and understand that his reputation in Montana may have been carefully crafted by political enemies.
  • (5/5)
    Timothy Egan has hit yet another "home run". This author of so many excellent works has told the story of Thomas Meagher - a son of Ireland, revolutionary, victim of British "justice", prisoner in Tasmania, escapee, immigrant to America, respected speaker, Civil War general, Montana politician, and most of all Irish patriot. Once again an author has expanded my knowledge of a portion of American history. This is why I read. Thank you Timothy Egan for enriching my life.