Review by Choice Review
With renewed interest in that unique social form, the American ethnic group, this is a welcome study. The story of the shaping and reshaping of Irish American identity, the work presents a counterargument to the view that so far as the progeny of white immigrants is concerned, what remains of ethnicity today is purely symbolic. Clark makes a strong case for the belief that Gaelic traditions and political experiences the "patrimony" have continuing significance among the Irish of Philadelphia (the main focus of his research) and in many other cities where "Erin's heirs" are located. His argument is informed by reliance on a variety of primary and secondary sources census data, oral histories, a sample survey of 200 Irish American Philadelphians that he carried out in 1989, and the studies of many other scholars. In its four tightly packed chapters, Clark's book introduces the reader to a variety of Irish Americans (dock workers and railroad "terriers," priests and politicians, and many others) and to the familial, associational, economic, religious, and other social institutions of the still evolving "subcultural community." It would have been interesting to have Clark's more critical assessment of how others (including members of other ethnic groups) view the Irish in America, and how Irish American attitudes toward others have changed over time. College, university, and public libraries.-P. I. Rose, Smith College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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