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O’FLAHERTY, Liam. Famine. A novel. New York: Literary Guild, 1937. Crown octavo. First American edition. pp. 466. Titlepage printed in green and black. Bound by Gerry Kenny of Galway in quarter green morocco over marbled boards. All edges gilt. A very attractive copy of the scarce first edition.
O’Flaherty’s Famine novel (which he dedicated to John Ford, a relative) is a gripping story of the 1845 famine that wiped out a large part of Ireland’s population, and resulted in the great wave of Irish emigration that followed. The author does not mince words in blaming English misrule for the extent of the devastation. The minutest details are employed to describe the “Great Hunger” and its effect on the lives of the peasants of Crom, Black Valley and Glenares. His study of the Irish famine ranks among the best historical novels written in the twentieth century.
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