Irish Americans
The History and Culture of a People
by William E. Watson and Eugene J. Halus, Jr., Editors
November 2014, 511pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-466-7
$100, £75, 84€, A143
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-467-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Irish Americans have been authors, astronauts, prizefighters, and presidents.

Virtually every aspect of American culture has been influenced by Irish immigrants and their descendants. This encyclopedia tells the full story of the Irish-American experience, covering immigration, assimilation, and achievement.

The Irish have had a significant impact on America across three centuries, helping to shape politics, law, labor, war, literature, journalism, entertainment, business, sports, and science. This encyclopedia explores why the Irish came to America, where they settled, and how their distinctive Irish-American identity was formed. Well-known Irish Americans are profiled, but the work also captures the essence of everyday life for Irish-Americans as they have assimilated, established communities, and interacted with other ethnic groups.

The approximately 200 entries in this comprehensive, one-stop reference are organized into four themes: the context of Irish-American emigration; political and economic life; cultural and religious life; and literature, the arts, and popular culture. Each section offers a historical overview of the subject matter, and the work is enriched by a selection of primary documents.


  • Demonstrates the intricate—and far-reaching—nature of the Irish-American connection
  • Covers the variety of the Irish-American political experience in the North and South rather than focusing only on northern populations
  • Distinguishes between the experience of Irish Protestants and Irish Catholics
  • Highlights the Irish propensity for inventiveness in America and Irish contributions to business and technology
  • Discusses the prominence of the Irish in the Catholic Church in the United States
William E. Watson, PhD, is professor of history at Immaculata University in Malvern, PA. His published works include ABC-CLIO's The Ghosts of Duffy's Cut; Tricolor and Crescent: France and the Islamic World; and The Collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union, as well as numerous articles in ABC-CLIO encyclopedias, in scholarly journals, and in magazines. His research has been featured in several documentaries; in the New York Times, Smithsonian, and the Wall Street Journal; and on PBS, the Travel Channel, CNN, NPR, RTE, and the BBC. Watson holds a doctorate in history from the University of Pennsylvania.

Eugene J. Halus, Jr., PhD, is associate professor of politics and chairman of the Department of History and Politics at Immaculata University in Malvern, PA. His published works include articles in scholarly journals such as U.S. Catholic Historian and the Schuylkill Valley Journal as well as a number of book chapters and government reports. Halus served as a political analyst for CBS-3-TV in Philadelphia and ABC-WLOH radio in southeastern Ohio. He has written numerous op-ed news pieces as well as environmental and municipal plans. He served as parliamentary aide to Irish Senator Joseph O'Toole in 1989 and studied at the Institute of Public Administration in Dublin, Ireland. Halus holds a doctorate in politics from the Catholic University of America.


"Students doing reports on this immigrant group, Irish Americans who are interested in their ancestors’ history, and browsers will enjoy this thorough look at a group that has a long history in the United States."—Library Journal, March 1, 2015

"This worthy volume can be used for ready reference, or readers can have a jolly good browse learning more about favorite Irish American personalities. . . . Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; all academic audiences."—Choice, May 7, 2015
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