Presenter: Mary C. Kelly
As part of New Hampshire Humanities' Perspectives Book Groups, we're reading The Coffin Ship: Life and Death at Sea during the Great Irish Famine by Cian T. McMahon.
The oceangoing voyage endured by two million Irish escaping the country’s Great Famine of the mid-1800s endures as a cornerstone of the modern Irish and Irish American historical narrative. This book traces the epic journey undertaken by destitute Irish smallholders across the Atlantic to Boston and New York and other North American safe harbors. Famine emigrants fleeing Ireland strengthened their chances of survival aboard ship in proactive ways, but ongoing dangers persisted on the voyage and subsequently within the urban immigrant enclaves established by the survivors.
This stirring account transports the reader from destitute fields, ports of departure and seafaring rituals to eventual settlement in American cities for the fortunate survivors. The Atlantic crossing that represented a last hope for so many, and imprinted the Irish immigrant community in North America so powerfully, provides a compelling focus in this accessible historical narrative.
PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED TO RECEIVE THE BOOK PRIOR TO DISCUSSION.
New Hampshire Humanities programs are made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this these programs do not necessarily represent those of the NEH or New Hampshire Humanities.