Making Sense of the Molly Maguires

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Oxford University Press, USA, Jan 13, 1998 - History - 368 pages
6 Reviews
Twenty Irish immigrants, suspected of belonging to a secret terrorist organization called the Molly Maguires, were executed in Pennsylvania in the 1870s for the murder of sixteen men. Ever since, there has been enormous disagreement over who the Molly Maguires were, what they did, and why they did it, as virtually everything we now know about the Molly Maguires is based on hostile descriptions of their contemporaries. Arguing that such sources are inadequate to serve as the basis for a factual narrative, Making Sense of the Molly Maguires examines the ideology behind the contemporary evidence to explain how and why a particular meaning came to be associated with the Molly Maguires in Ireland and Pennsylvania. At the same time, this book examines new archival evidence from Ireland that establishes that the American Molly Maguires were a rare transatlantic strand of the violent protest endemic in the Irish countryside. Combining social and cultural history, Making Sense of the Molly Maguires offers a new explanation of who the Molly Maguires were, as well as why people wrote and believed such curious things about them. In the process, it vividly retells one of the classic stories of American labor and immigration.

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Review: Making Sense of the Molly Maguires

User Review  - Walt - Goodreads

This was a very interesting read. Writing through the prism of the 1990s this book takes a decidedly different track than the previous scholarly studies of the 1950s. Earlier studies were based on the ... Read full review

Review: Making Sense of the Molly Maguires

User Review  - Amber - Goodreads

This book is good for anyone who is interested in Irish history. However the author does make note that there was no evidence to really go off of. Instead he makes use of census data and testimonies at the trials. Read full review

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About the author (1998)

Kevin Kenny is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin.

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