“The Great Famine was one of the most important events in Irish history.
However none of my older relatives from Ireland ever mentioned it. Yet their parents and neighbors must have lived through it. Neither did I learn about it during all the years of parochial education.
Finally, when a young man, I learned about The Famine. I keep seven books about The Famine on my bookshelf, and I will now add this outstanding book.
Why is it outstanding? Even extraordinary? It tells the story of this terrible event in a vibrant, colorful way. It includes well developed fictional characters and, at times, even humor. The book is illustrated with drawings from contemporary newspapers and other sources. Most are from The Illustrated London News. This news magazine was hostile to the Irish. However, even those who worked for it felt sorry for the suffering in Ireland. This is shown in sympathetic pictures.
It is remarkable that the author can bring this utterly grim event to colorful life. O’Keefe makes the story come alive by using a vigorous and memorable story line.
He develops the story with fictional characters but constantly with The Great Famine as the background.”