Motherland: Writings by Irish American Women about Mothers and Mothering

Caledonia Kearns, Editor
Caledonia Kearns, Editor William Morrow & Company $22 (272p) ISBN 978-0-688-16565-9
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
Paperback - 276 pages - 978-0-688-17586-3
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Kearns (Cabbage and Bones) has done an exemplary job of assembling this anthology of writings by a wide variety of Irish-American women. Although many of the selections are memoirs and essays concerning motherhood, some fiction is also included, such as the sample from nearly forgotten novelist Ellin Mackay Berlin (Lace Curtain). Of particular interest are selections from the autobiographies of two important Irish-American labor activists: Helen Gurley Glynn (1890-1964) delivers a stirring tribute to her mother, an immigrant whose political activism made her a role model for her daughter; Mother Jones (1830-1930) recalls how she began agitating for the rights of strikers after the deaths of her husband and four children from yellow fever. There is a touching piece by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who recalls her childhood attempts to wish away her mother's serious illness. Mary Cantwell describes the painful birth of her baby. Other contributors in this thoughtful collection include Mary Gordon, Anna Quindlen and birth-control pioneer Margaret Sanger. Agent, Victoria Sanders. Author tour. (Mar.)
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