In “The Immortal Irishman,” Timothy Egan tells the exhilarating and improbable story of Thomas Francis Meagher, a charmer and rabble-rouser who emerges from poverty to become one of Waterford’s most eligible young bachelors, an impassioned orator for Irish independence, and a soldier blessed with uncanny luck. He is twice sentenced to death by the British but escapes prison in 1848 and joins the cause of Daniel O’Connell, the Great Liberator. Exiled to America as violence escalates in Ireland, Meagher becomes lieutenant governor of Montana Territory (1862–67) at age thirty-five and helps save his countrymen from starvation on their way west. He champions democracy during Reconstruction amid white supremacists bent on returning blacks to slavery; leads Union troops against Indians on the frontier; then starts denouncing government corruption back east—land deals that make him wealthy but cost him friends. In New York City he’s assaulted by thugs working for Boss Tweed before dying under mysterious circumstances at just forty-seven years old.
For who is this book for ?
This book is for people interested in the history of Ireland and America.
- Egan tells a rousing, improbable story of Thomas Francis Meagher and his rise from poverty to become one of Waterford’s most eligible young bachelors
- An impassioned orator for Irish independence, Meagher escapes death twice and becomes lieutenant governor of Montana Territory
- Despite some setbacks along the way (e.g., being assaulted by thugs working for Boss Tweed), he ultimately champion democracy during Reconstruction amid white supremacists
- The Immortal Irishman may be a great book, but it is awfully long.
- The Immortal Irishman could have been more exciting if it focused more on Meagher’s life and less on the history of Ireland.
- The Immortal Irishman spends too much time talking about things that are not interesting to most readers.
Learn more about the author
Born in Seattle, Washington, Timothy Egan is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author who has written for The New York Times since 1986. He lives in Spokane, Washington.
“This is more than a great biography. It’s also a social history of Ireland and the United States in the 19th century, and of Montana Territory during the Civil War.”
“The Immortal Irishman”
“Egan has written a superb biography of an amazing man.”
“I found myself laughing out loud and tearing up on more occasions than I could count. And, as a proud Irish-American, I was inspired.”