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Paddy the caricature of the heavy-drinking, hard-brawling Irishman born in Vaudeville acts and nativist cartoons remains, unfortunately, a vivid feature of the American national imagination. But as this stereotype fades into the past, what image does America have of the millions of Irish-Catholic immigrants who have played such a central role in our history
In this remarkable collection of writings chronicling the author s exploration of his own past and the lives of the hundreds of thousands of nameless immigrants that struggled alongside his own ancestors Peter Quinn paints a brilliant new portrait of the Irish-American men and women whose culture and values now play such a central role in all of our identities as Americans. In Quinn s hands, Paddy gives way to an image of Jimmy an archetypal Irish-American (a composite of Jimmy Cagney and Jimmy Walker) who comes to life as the fast-talking, tough-yetrefined urban American who redefined American politics, street culture, religion, and moral imagination. Addressing subjects ranging from the impact of decades of immigration on Western Ireland to the long legacy of Irish-American Archbishop John Hughes, Quinn s vibrant prose weaves together the story of a people that has made an immeasurable contribution to American history and culture.