The Irish Way

The Irish Way

Becoming American in the Multiethnic City

Additional Formats
  • ePub
  • ISBN 9781101560594
  • 400 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


The newest volume in the award-winning Penguin History of American Life series, this innovative and fascinating work chronicles how a new urban American identity was forged in the streets, saloons, and churches of the nation’s cities during the nineteenth century—a process deeply shaped, according to author James R. Barrett, by the Irish. Drawing on contemporary sociological studies and diaries, newspaper accounts, and Irish American literature, The Irish Way illustrates how interactions between the Irish and later immigrants on the streets, on the vaudeville stage, and in workplaces from New York to Chicago helped forge a multiethnic identity that has a profound legacy in our country today.


“Portraying colorful characters like New York reformer politician boss Timothy Sullivan and showing how the blending of African-American and Irish dance resulted in tap dancing, Barrett gives us an authoritative, fact-filled analysis.”
Publishers Weekly
"A fast-paced tour."
The Boston Globe
“Richly detailed, often fascinating . . . a very absorbing work of social history.”
The Wall Street Journal
The Irish Way will be of high interest to anyone who cherishes the old industrial cities of America and, of course, the Irish story.”
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Barrett has written an excellent, bottom-up survey of the Irish experience over the past two centuries . . . he is most successful in describing the Americanization of policemen, teachers, nuns, and even gang leaders. This is a superior ethnic study that will have value for both scholars and general readers.”
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