The Irish Americans: The Rise to Money and Power

By Andrew M. Greeley | Go to book overview

TWO
The Celtic Inheritance

LET US IMAGINE YOU HAVE COME UPON A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO TALK a lot, enjoy puns and word games, sing songs, tell stories, write verse, are addicted to politics, drink too much, give considerable power to their womenfolk, are rather quick to lose their tempers, become contentious at the drop of a single word, seem to have a special mystical link with nature, are given to long journeys, and look at the world with a curious mixture of melancholy, fatalism, and grotesque hopefulness. You will see them as characters in an O'Faillon short story, or perhaps as personages in a James T. Farrell novel, or maybe as members of any one of a score of Irish Catholic parishes on the southwest side of Chicago or its adjoining suburbs.

Well, not exactly. Listen to Roman author Strabo describing mysterious Celts who lived out beyond the fringe of the Roman Empire at the time of Caesar.

Relying upon the work of a predecessor called Posidonius, Strabo says this of the Celts:

To the frankness and high-spiritedness of their temperament must be added the traits of childish boastfulness and love of decoration. They wear ornaments of gold, torques on their necks, and bracelets on their arms and wrists, while people of high rank wear dyed garments be-

-14-

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The Irish Americans: The Rise to Money and Power
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introductory Note vii
  • One - American- but Still Irish! 1
  • Two - The Celtic Inheritance 14
  • Three - The English Invasions 40
  • Four - Immigration 69
  • Five - The Nationalist Cause 90
  • Six - Achievement 106
  • Seven - Family and Personality 121
  • Eight - Religion 130
  • Nine - Irish Politics 152
  • Ten - Irish Drinking 170
  • Eleven - Irish-American Writers 183
  • Index 209
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