Nine Irish Lives: The Thinkers, Fighters, and Artists Who Helped Build America

By Mark Bailey



"These are not just nine Irish lives but nine extraordinary lives, their struggles universal, their causes never more important than today. As the saying goes, the best stories belong to those who can tell them. And these are well told, by some of our best storytellers."

--Timothy Egan, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortal Irishman

In this entertaining and timely anthology, nine contemporary Irish Americans present the stories of nine inspiring Irish immigrants whose compassion, creativity, and indefatigable spirit helped shape America.

The authors here bring to bear their own life experiences as they reflect on their subjects, in each essay telling a unique and surprisingly intimate story. Rosie O'Donnell, an adoptive mother of five, writes about Margaret Haughery, the Mother of Orphans. Poet Jill McDonough recounts the story of a particularly brave Civil War soldier, and filmmaker and activist Michael Moore presents the original muckraking journalist, Samuel McClure. Novelist Kathleen Hill reflects on famed New Yorker writer Maeve Brennan, and historian Terry Golway examines the life of pivotal labor leader Mother Jones.

In his final written work, activist and politician Tom Hayden explores his own namesake, Thomas Addis Emmet. Nonprofit executive Mark Shriver writes about the priest who founded Boys Town, and celebrated actor Pierce Brosnan--himself a painter in his spare time--writes about silent film director Rex Ingram, also a sculptor. And a pair of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan, take on the story of Niall O'Dowd, the news publisher who brokered peace in Northern Ireland.

Each of these remarkable stories serves as a reflection--and celebration--of our nation's shared values, ever more meaningful as we debate the issue of immigration today. Through the battles they fought, the cases they argued, the words they wrote, and the lives they touched, the nine Irish men and women profiled in these pages left behind something greater than their individual accomplishments--our America.

Product Details

Price: $16.95  $15.59
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Published Date: March 06, 2018
Pages: 272
Dimensions: 5.7 X 0.8 X 8.1 inches | 0.6 pounds
ISBN: 9781616205171
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Mark and Sally Bailey's style has been evolving for over 25 years in their Herefordshire home and business, Baileys Home & Garden. Their backgrounds in architecture, interior design and furniture-making have lead to collaborations with the music and fashion industries, retailers and in product design. Mark and Sally have worked with Ralph Lauren, Paul Smith, Donna Karan, Liberty, Conran, Takashimaya and Habitat. Their other books for Ryland Peters & Small are Recycled Home, Simple Home and Handmade Home.


"Readers interested in getting their Irish on will delight in this collection of essays detailing a variety of significant contributions by Irish immigrants to the history of the U.S."

"Yes indeed, we're torturously poetic. Awkwardly comic. Willfully ambiguous. Not happy unless we're sad. But the world wouldn't have it any other way. And if anything captures this Irish spirit, it's Mark Bailey's wonderfully eclectic Nine Irish Lives. A marvelous symphony from a variety of well-known voices."
--Colum McCann, New York Times bestselling author of Let the Great World Spin

"Nine Irish Lives reveals the fascinating stories of men and women who might otherwise be lost to history. Each perfect pairing of subject and author elevates this book from simple biography to a moving conversation between present and past. It's a timely reminder of what is gained when immigrants come to America."
--J. Courtney Sullivan, bestselling author of Saints for All Occasions

"These are not just nine Irish lives, but nine extraordinary lives, their struggles universal, their causes never more important than today. As the saying goes, the best stories belong to those who can tell them. And these are well told, by some of our best storytellers."
--Timothy Egan, New York Times bestselling author of The Immortal Irishman

"Nine Irish Lives is an engrossing and inspiring book. As the child of Irish immigrants, I was in awe of what these nine people achieved."
--Mary Higgins Clark, internationally bestselling suspense novelist

"Today, when some in the United States are wishing away our diversity and openly inciting discrimination and even violence, Nine Irish Lives serves as a riveting, inspiring reminder of all that America stands to gain by opening our arms to the hungry, the persecuted, the proud, and the determined."
--Samantha Power, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations

"Mark Bailey's Nine Irish Lives is a string of illuminating prose meditations about an unsung club of sustainable heroes with St. Patrick on their side. Much forgotten history is brought to life in this riveting narrative. Highly recommended!!"
--Douglas Brinkley, CNN Presidential historian and New York Times-bestselling author of The Great Deluge

"The stories of immigrants working to get the job done -- following the dreams, heartbreak, successes, and their inextricable link to American history -- are timely ones."
--Brit + Co

"What makes Nine Irish Lives so compelling is the sheer range of voices and personalities that comprise its endlessly digestible pages. What Bailey has done here is inspired."
--Irish America

"What makes these pieces work so well is the connection each writer feels with the chosen subject, with those not primarily known as writers revealing as much about themselves as their subject through their choice . . . Nine other writers might well have selected nine different subjects, which serves as a tribute to the indomitable Irish character and the transformational possibilities of America. This is a perfect St. Patrick's Day anthology for the Irish book lover on your gift list."
--Kirkus Reviews