History: The Other Irish

Karen F. McCarthy’s The Other Irish is a delightful and deeply informative new take on the Scots-Irish who, despite being relatively unknown, made a tremendous contribution to America’s culture. What I particularly appreciate about the book is the way in which she tells their stofebmar2011coverry by concentrating on the incredible characters in that tradition. She thereby circumvents the dry as dust abstractions of the more conventional approaches taken by academic historians and sociologists. Because she is an experienced journalist with an eye for the telling detail, the figures she writes about leap off the page in all their wonderful idiosyncrasy, orneriness, hardscrabble toughness, occasional tenderness and persnickety charm. For the first time she really brings the whole Scots-Irish saga to life and makes us understand why they have made such an extraordinary contribution in so many different ways to Southern, and indeed American, culture in general, nowhere moreso than through country music. As well as by providing more U.S. Presidents than any other ethnic group. – James Flannery, Irish American Magazine
(347 pages/Sterling/$24.95)


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