When Pickett charged at Gettysburg, it was the all-Irish Pennsylvania 69th who held fast while the surrounding regiments broke and ran. And it was Abraham Lincoln who, a year earlier at Malvern Hill, picked up a corner of one of the Irish colors, kissed it, and said, “God bless the Irish flag.”
Lincoln and the Irish untangles one of the most fascinating subtexts of the Civil War: Abraham Lincoln’s relationship with the men and women coming to America to escape the Irish famine.
Renowned Irish-American journalist Niall O’Dowd gives unprecedented insight into a relationship that began with mutual disdain. Lincoln saw the Irish as instinctive supporters of the Democratic opposition, while the Irish saw the English landlord class in Lincoln’s Republicans. But that dynamic would evolve, and the Lincoln whose first political actions included intimidating Irish voters at the polls would eventually hire Irish nannies and donate to the Irish famine fund. When he was voted into the White House, Lincoln surrounded himself with Irish staff, much to the chagrin of a senior aide who complained about the Hibernian cabal. And the Irish would repay Lincoln’s faith—their numbers and courage would help swing the Civil War in his favor, and among them would be some of his best generals and staunchest advocates.
SubtitleThe Untold Story of How the Irish Helped Abraham Lincoln Save the Union
AuthorBy Niall O'Dowd
Published27 February 2018
Dimensions6.00 x 9.00in.
IllustrationsB/W photos and illustrations.
About the author
Niall O’Dowd is the founder of IrishCentral, Irish America Magazine, and the Irish Voice newspaper. He is also responsible for publishing the IrishCentral.com community newspaper and the Irish Emigrant newspaper in Boston. Niall was awarded an honorary doctorate by University College Dublin for his work on the Irish peace process, which was a subject of a book, Daring Diplomacy, and a PBS Special, An Irish Voice. He has written for the New York Times, the Guardian, Huffington Post, and the Irish Times. He lives in New York City.
"In these times when some would make of America a cold house for emigrants, Niall O’Dowd has done well to remind us of how the greatest American icon, Abraham Lincoln, changed from a position of suspicion of Irish immigrants to one of gratitude and deep regard for them. As the book reveals, he was deeply touched by their outstanding role in his life and by their sacrifices in his battle to preserve the fragile flower of democracy."—Tim Pat Coogan, historian and best-selling author of The IRA, Michael Collins, and Wherever Green is Worn