The Great Irish Famine A History in Four Lives - Enda Delaney


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The Great Irish Famine of 1845–52 was the defining event in the history of modern Ireland. At least one million people died, and double that number fled the country within a decade.

The Great Irish Famine surveys the history of this great tragedy through the testimonies of four key contemporaries, conveying the immediacy of the unfolding disaster as never before.

They are:

  • John MacHale - the Catholic Archbishop of Tuam
  • John Mitchel - the radical nationalist
  • Elizabeth Smith - the Scottish-born wife of a Wicklow landlord
  • Charles E. Trevelyan - the assistant Secretary to the Treasury


Each brings a unique perspective, influenced by who they were, what they witnessed, and what they stood for. It is an intimate and compelling portrayal of these hungry years. The book shows how misguided policies inspired by slavish adherence to ideology worsened the effects of a natural disaster of catastrophic proportions.

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