Famine Ghost is a book of historical fiction, the story of the Irish Famine (1845-1850) as seen through the eyes of young Johnjoe Kevane. He and his family are evicted from their cottage in Dingle. Disdaining the option of life in the local workhouse, the Kevanes sail in a coffin ship to Grosse Ile in Canada. Johnjoe keeps a diary of his family's suffering in the dark bowels of the overcrowded ship. When his parents die of ship fever-typhus-Johnjoe returns home to exact revenge on the landlord, Major Mahon.
Jack gives an overview of the book:
When the potato blight struck the country from 1845-1850, it destroyed the subsistence food of the small Irish farmer. The Limerick and Clare Examiner in 1848 wrote that “nothing, absolutely nothing is done to save the lives of the people. They are swept out of their holdings, swept out of life without an effort on the part of our rulers to stay the violent progress of human destruction.”
1847 was the third year of the Great Hunger. Never before had the potato failed even two years in a row. This year would come to be called “Black ’47.” British Prime Minister Russell said the famine was over. He was wrong.
Why write a novel about a tragedy that is over 150 years old? "Because it happened and should no longer stay hidden," says author Jack O'Keefe. In "Famine Ghost," O'Keefe captures the raw details of the 1845-1850 Great Irish Famine, building our awareness of the true drama through photos, newspaper clips and drawings. It is a chilling story of the one million who died in Ireland and two million who emigrated.
Jack O’Keefe, the son of Irish immigrants, earned a Ph.D. in Literature, and attended the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. He joined the seminary of the Christian Brothers in West Park, New York, near President Roosevelt’s home, and later taught at Power Memorial Academy in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City.
Jack is also the author of Brother Sleeper Agent: The Plot to Kill FDR.
“The Great Famine was one of the most important events in Irish history.
However none of...