It May Be Forever: An Irish Rebel on the American Frontier

Front Cover
AuthorHouse, Oct 3, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 392 pages

It May Be Forever is a nineteenth century tale of adventure and tragedy, based upon the real-life story of Michael Quinn. To escape the grinding poverty of Irelands Great Famine, Michael and his family flee to England, where at age eight, Michael becomes a child laborer in a textile mill. As he grows older and more aware of British prejudice and discrimination, he is motivated to enlist with the Fenian rebels, a group determined to free Ireland from British colonial rule. Chronic unemployment, however, drives him to America, and defeat on the battlefield lands him on the untamed plains of the Wild West.

Faced with unaccustomed opportunity, Michael quickly abandons the fight against oppression and turns away from family and friends. Dreams of achieving a great fortune lead him to support the dispossession of Native Americans of their lands and livelihood. But after the massacre at Wounded Knee, demons of conscience rise up in terrible nightmares, and only a Lakota holy man offers the hope of redemption.

It May Be Forever is a cautionary tale, which shows how the many small decisions of life can create the most unintended consequences, and how easily a man of strong convictions may become that which he hates.

Visit David Quinns website:


What people are saying - Write a review

Review: It May Be Forever: An Irish Rebel on the American Frontier

User Review  - Sheila - Goodreads

This book was a very quick read. Not that it was short, but it was SO well written with very descriptive chapters that it was an easy read. I felt like I was in the story and I knew the characters. I ... Read full review


Chapter Two Guests of the Crown
Chapter Four Famine Again
Chapter Six The Crossing
Chapter Seven American Fenian
Chapter Eight O Canada
Chapter Nine Taking Leave
Chapter Ten Becoming a Bullwhacker
Chapter Twelve Moving Up
Chapter Fifteen Making Business
Chapter Seventeen Off to the Gold Fields
Chapter Eighteen Moving to the River
Chapter Nineteen Where the Buffalo Roamed
Chapter TwentyOne Demons of the Night
Chapter TwentyTwo Strikes the Ree
Chapter TwentyThree Frontier No More
Chapter TwentyFour Facing Changes

Chapter Thirteen Hell on Wheels
Chapter Fourteen The Break
Chapter TwentySix Jamess Message

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2005)

David Quinn was born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in 1945 and grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. He studied political science at Wheeling Jesuit University (B.A.) and Fordham University (M.A.). During thirty years in the telecommunications industry, he was involved in international projects in Asia and Europe, finally completing his career with a five-year assignment in London. David made the decision to leave the corporate world in 1999. His passion for genealogy led him to uncover the remarkable story of his great, great uncle Michael Quinn. After two years of research conducted in Ireland, England, and the United States, David was ready to embark on the writing of a historical novel, It May Be Forever, based on Michael Quinn’s extraordinary life. David and his wife, Betsy, live in Prescott, Arizona, and have three grown children.

“The Irish Diaspora is a large historical canvas stretching over many centuries. Driven into exile ... the dispossessed Irish struggled for survival in their new lands. Each individual’s struggle could merit a book in itself.

It May Be Forever: An Irish Rebel on the American Frontier is one such story. It is the story of Michael Quinn who, aged eight, escapes from An Ghorta Mhr (The Great Hunger), the most devastating of the starvations inflicted on Ireland by an uncaring colonial landlord system in 1845-9. Although a true-life story, Michael’s great-great-nephew, David Quinn, chooses to tell the story in novel form. It works brilliantly, for David shows his dexterity as a storyteller is equally worthy of his subject. It’s a book that should be listed among the great Irish diasporic accounts, told with skill and artistry by an author of whom I am sure we will hear more.”

Peter Berresford Ellis Noted Celtic scholar, writer, and novelist

Bibliographic information