Interest in the Great Irish Famine and Irish immigration to America remains high. Somewhat less attention, however, has been paid to those who stayed, those who wouldn't or couldn't leave. Published nearly forty years ago, Arnold Schrier's Ireland and the American Emigration was the first book to try to understand the effects of this exodus upon Ireland itself.
Schrier shows how the emigration affected Ireland's economy in such areas as labor supply, wages, agricultural methods, housing, and the development of industry, demonstrating that things actually improved at home as more and more people left. He describes the protests of the Irish newspapers and the Irish Catholic Church against the steady drain of the population. Drawing on hundreds of emigrants' letters collected by the author, he vividly describes the effects of emigration upon the customs and folkways of the people, and the unique ceremony of the "e;american wake"e; that celebrated the departure of relatives and friends. Schrier's fascinating history ultimately reveals to us a new Ireland, a post-Famine, post-emigration Ireland ready to step boldly into the economic and political maelstrom of the twentieth century.