The Irish in New Jersey: Four Centuries of American Life by Dermot Quinn
Since Irish immigrants began settling in New Jersey during the seventeenth century, they have made a sizable impact on the state's history and development. As the budding colony struggled to establish an identity for itself in the New World, Irish men and women were forced to grapple with issues of their own: What did it mean to be Irish American, and what role would ""Irishness"" play in the creation of an American identity? In this thought-provoking and richly illustrated history, Dermot Quinn calls upon a remarkable treasury of photographs and newspaper clippings that uncover the story of how the Irish in New Jersey maintained their cultural roots, while also embracing their role in laying the foundations for the social, economic, political, and religious landscapes of the country they now called home. Featuring a wealth of anecdotes, sermons, diary entries, and biographical sketches, as well as early census statistics and scholarly references, this entertaining and thoroughly researched volume will appeal to historians and general readers alike. Quinn vividly chronicles the emigration of many families from a conflict-torn and famine-stricken country to the new and unfamiliar land whose discriminatory policies and unwelcoming streets often fell far short of being paved with gold. ""The Irish in New Jersey"" includes many harrowing tales of poverty and struggles to adapt, as the Irish contended with anti-Irish and anti-Catholic prejudice. Using case histories of individuals and of the cities of Paterson, Jersey City, and Newark, Quinn examines the troubled transition of the Irish from a rejected minority to a middle-class, secular, and suburban identity. He also explores the promotion of ""Irishness"" by means of productions like the famed Riverdance and the annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade, noting how each reflects the Irish American culture. ""The Irish in New Jersey"" will appeal to everyone with an interest in the unique cultural heritage of a proud and accomplished people.