The Irish of New Jersey: Four Centuries of American Life (Rivergate Books)

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9780813534213: The Irish of New Jersey: Four Centuries of American Life (Rivergate Books)

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 established an identity in the New World, the Irish grappled 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 richly illustrated history, Dermot Quinn uncovers the story of how the Irish in New Jersey maintained their cultural roots while also laying the foundations for the social, economic, political, and religious landscapes of their adopted country. Quinn chronicles the emigration of families from a conflict-torn and famine-stricken Ireland to the unfamiliar land whose unwelcoming streets often fell far short of being paved with gold.

Using case histories from Paterson, Jersey City, and Newark, Quinn examines the transition of the Irish from a rejected minority to a middle-class, secular, and suburban identity. The Irish in New Jersey will appeal to everyone with an interest in the cultural heritage of a proud and accomplished people.

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About the Author:

Dermot Quinn is an associate professor of history at Seton Hall University. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin and New College, Oxford, he is author of Patronage and Piety: English Roman Catholics and Politics, 1850–1900 and Understanding Northern Ireland.

Review:

Professor Quinn does more than simply take note of the Irish surnames that popped up in old documents. He asks important questions, the kind rarely raised in ethnocentric histories. What, he asks, did it mean to be Irish in New Jersey in 1690? And did it matter? (The New York Times)

Quinn offers a historian's and an Irishman's perspective on the second most populous ethnic group in New Jersey, and does it with a critical eye, salted with Irish wit. He goes beyond the stereotypes and offers a history of the Irish in New Jersey that will provide new information even to those who think they know the story already. (Augustine J. Curley OSB, New Jersey Catholic Historical Records Commission)

This gem of a book is far from being either simple ethnic celebration or uncritical local history. It is a very subtle analysis of the phenomenon of the Irish in America with a special emphasis on New Jersey. (John P. McCarthy professor emeritus of history, Fordham University)

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Dermot Quinn
Published by Rivergate Books (2004)
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