When the Continental Congress decided to declare independence from the British Empire in 1776, 10 percent of the population of their fledgling country were from Ireland. By 1790, close to 500,000 Irish citizens had immigrated to America. They were very active in the American Revolution, both on the battlefields and off, yet their stories are not well known. The important contributions of the Irish on military, political, and economic levels have been long overlooked and ignored by generations of historians. However, new evidence has revealed that Washington's Continental Army consisted of a far larger percentage of Irish soldiers than previously thought - between 40 and 50 percent - who fought during some of the most important battles of the American Revolution. Romanticized versions of this historical period tend to focus on the upper-class figures who had the biggest roles in America's struggle for liberty. But these adaptations neglect the impact of European and Irish ideals as well as citizens on the formation of the revolution. Irish contributors such as John Barry, the colonies' foremost naval officer; Henry Knox, an artillery officer and future secretary of war; Richard Montgomery, America's first war hero and martyr; and Charles Thomson, a radical organizer and secretary to the Continental Congress were all instrumental in carrying out the vision for a free country. Without their timely and disproportionate assistance, America almost certainly would have lost the desperate fight for its existence.
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Interesting story/research marred by performance
It is great to finally see some much needed light shone of the incredibly significant contribution of the Irish in the US War of Independence. However Mr. Pattons's delivery is inexcusable. Fully at LEAST 90% of the place names reference in Ireland are brutally mispronounced, often laughably so. Had the narrator spent 15 minutes with any Irish person and researched the proper pronunciation of counties, towns, provinces reference in the book, it would have saved the day. How is it possible that no one picked up on this issue? It's so distracting to continuously hear Irish place names butchered: Louth, Leinster, Donegal, Drogheda, the list is endless. It boggles the mind that a book that has been very thoughtfully researched, was then delivered into the hands of a narrator that obviously spent no effort in reaching the correct pronunciations of the locations in Ireland. Heck, Patton even mispronounces the capital of Portugal, Lisbon! The continuously reoccurring issue greatly distracts from the content of the book. However the book has provided me with some wonderful information on the incredible, but regretfully much ignored, contribution of the Irish and Scotch (Scots)-Irish to American independence. For that I am very grateful.
Gaining insight and understanding of the high esteem Washington held of the Irish under his command. The fact that close to 50% of the army was made up of the Irish and their decedents in America. In a time when Irish and most epically Irish Catholics were viewed with contempt, Washington appears to have held no prejudice and often elevated these men to the highest ranks despite the strong views and prejudices of many in his senior command.
Anybody... who would have spent 15 minutes reaching correct pronunciation of Irish place names.
The author continually referenced "Northern Ireland" throughout the book when referencing towns and counties in the north of Ireland. "Northern Ireland" did not actually come into existence until 1921, when the Irish Free State was created and 6 of the 9 counties in Ulster became a jurisdiction within the UK, known as Northern Ireland. On one or two occasion County Londonderry was referenced. The county has only ever been named Derry. Only the city of Derry / Londonderry bears the "interchangeable name."
- Beechwood Knoll