The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero
By Timothy Egan
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (March 2016)
Reviewed by R. Bryan Willits
The story of Thomas Francis Meagher – Irish revolutionary, exile, American Civil War general, and eventual governor of the Montana Territory – has long deserved to be told. In his 44 years on earth, Meagher careened his way over several continents, transgressed national and epochal boundaries, and became well acquainted with many of the influential individuals of his time, in effect becoming one himself. Telling the complex story of this man, and the pivotal moments in which he was involved, is what Timothy Egan set out to do in this biography, The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero. There is no doubt that researching and incorporating such a vast breadth of material into this story was a major challenge. Egan nevertheless produced a highly readable volume accessible to a general audience. While this book has already earned significant acclaim, it is not without flaws.
Editors' Note: This is part of a roundtable series,“New Histories of Education in New York City.” For an introduction and overview, click here.
In our fourth post, Lauren Lefty asks us what the story of community control looks like from a Puerto Rican perspective. She excavates histories of transnationalism and empire from above and below; elite ideas and policies from the “culture of poverty” to charter schools circulated between island and mainland, while grassroots organizers mobilized transnational networks along a “continual line of self-determination.” When we take empire and decolonization seriously, and see schools as “a key site to engage questions of sovereignty,” “local control” is not so local at all.
By James Davis
Eric Walrond was far from alone in feeling the pull of poetry in 1922, arguably the most pivotal year in the history of African American verse. Claude McKay’s Harlem Shadows was published to acclaim; Jean Toomer put the final touches on Cane; Georgia Douglas Johnson published Bronze; and James Weldon Johnson published The Book of American Negro Poetry, the preface to which linked race progress to the arts. The tide was shifting as The Crisis began emphasizing the arts and the Urban League founded Opportunity in 1922. The transformation prompted one budding poet, a Columbia dropout, to begin thinking in terms of a movement. Writing Alain Locke, Langston Hughes said, “You are right that we have enough talent now to begin a movement. I wish we had some gathering place for our artists -- some little Greenwich Village of our own.” In Greenwich Village at that moment was another poet who would help realize their vision, the New York University student Countée Cullen, a Harlem product with several publications already to his name.
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