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Synopsis

In Between Raid and Rebellion, William Jenkins compares the lives and allegiances of Irish immigrants and their descendants in one American and one Canadian city between the era of the Fenian raids and the 1916 Easter Rising. Highlighting the significance of immigrants from Ulster to Toronto and from Munster to Buffalo, he distinguishes what it meant to be Irish in a loyal dominion within Britain’s empire and in a republic whose self-confidence knew no bounds. Jenkins pays close attention to the transformations that occurred within the Irish communities in these cities during this fifty-year period, from residential patterns to social mobility and political attitudes. Exploring their experiences in workplaces, homes, churches, and meeting halls, he argues that while various social, cultural, and political networks were crucial to the realization of Irish mobility and respectability in North America by the early twentieth century, place-related circumstances linked to wider national loyalties and diasporic concerns. With the question of Irish home rule animating debates throughout the period, Toronto's unionist sympathizers presented a marked contrast to Buffalo's nationalist agitators. Although the Irish had acclimated to life in their new world cities, their sense of feeling Irish had not faded to the degree so often assumed. A groundbreaking comparative analysis, Between Raid and Rebellion draws upon perspectives from history and geography to enhance our understanding of the Irish experiences in these centers and the process by which immigrants settle into new urban environments.

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