Looking for Jimmy: A Search for Irish America

Peter Quinn, Author . Overlook $26.95 (283p) ISBN 978-1-58567-870-9

Quinn, author of the acclaimed The Banished Children of Eve , has combined 22 (some never before published) essays in this entertaining and informative volume. The "Jimmy" in the title is actual plural: James Cagney, the swaggering Irish-American actor, and James J. Walker, the Jazz Age mayor of New York who was born with a song in his heart and larceny in his soul. The two Jimmys came to symbolize the aspirations of the Irish-Catholic American community as it fought to climb socially and economically in America. Quinn has a firm grip on history as he traces the Irish in New York back to before the famine. In a chapter named "City of God, City of Man," Quinn examines the parallel lives of Edgar Allan Poe and Archbishop "Dagger John" Hughes, both of whom came to New York City in the 1830s. The colorful Hughes, the man who built St. Patrick's Cathedral and the supporting Catholic system of hospitals, schools and orphanages, comes across as a no-nonsense man of action with the clout and savvy—and ruthlessness—reminiscent of Irish revolutionary Michael Collins. There are portraits of the Irish as politician, cop, priest, teacher, writer. In this deft examination of America's Irish, Quinn adds color and nostalgia with his tales of growing up and working in the Bronx of another time. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/06/2006
Release date: 03/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 283 pages - 978-1-59020-023-0
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-59020-597-6
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-59020-598-3
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