Book Reviews

Book Review: Thomas D'Arcy McGee.

This comprehensive biography of one of Canada’s most important politicians represents the culmination of years of painstaking research and study on the part of the author D. A Wilson, who is the co-ordinator of Celtic Studies Program and a professor in the Department of History of the University of Toronto.

T. D’Àrcy McGee was born in Ireland, and ultraconservative Catholic who became a revolutionary.

He moved to the USA where he lived for a few years supporting Fenians. They formed and organization in Chicago to support free Ireland. The organization had a very strong support base in New York City, which at the time, had 20 000 Irish immigrants.

T. D`Arcy McGee moved to Canada in 1857 to promote a more moderate form of Fenianism, and was involved in the political arena of the time, from Atlantic provinces to Ottawa.

He was an orator par excellence, an excellent writer, and influential politician who ably convinced the government of the time to support Catholic schools.

This precipitated the creation of Catholic School Boards that still

exist in Ontario and Quebec.

While he was fighting his adversaries, he also made enemies, and that ultimately cost him his life at a young age.

Although he was an indefatigable and astute politician, he drank excessively, and this caused his wife a lot of grief.

The author has been able to brilliantly capture the political atmosphere of the era, and Thomas D’Arcy McGee’s political involvement in Canadian history.

15,000 people participated at his funeral on April 13 1868 and 80,000 lined the streets of Montreal to watch the procession. It was the largest funeral British North America had ever seen.

The author has accomplished a great literary work presenting the life of Thomas D’Arcy McGee.

This book deservces to be in every Canadian public library , in the library od all historian on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, and everyone who loves history.

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