Now back on my regular schedule of a business book then a fun book, the book I just finished recently is The Hungry Road by Marita Conlon-McKenna. It’s a spectacular book that is a fun way to learn about how the great famine in Ireland (aka in the US the Irish potato famine) actually went down and affected real people.
Learning about historical events through story is really the best way to learn about it and this book did both really well. It was extremely well researched and included some tale and some reality.
It followed three main groups of people who were affected in different ways by the famine. The most interesting for me to read about was the Sullivan’s which consisted of John and Mary with their four kids. It also followed the story of Dr. Dan Donovan who was a real doctor who the Skibbereen Heritage Centre (look at me all British-English-like haha) helped with information about. The final main character the book followed was Father John Fitzpatrick.
Everyone suffered to a certain degree in the famine but it was very interesting reading about the day-to-day sufferings of the Sullivan’s. They rented their land, lived in a hut with dirt floors, and relied on potatoes as their main crop. They are the one’s whose potato crop failed and had to try to find work in a suddenly overcrowded labor market.
It was devastating to read about it but I just couldn’t put the book down. It was so extremely well written and really pulled me into the famine. As I read the book I was constantly looking on the maps to learn where these different places were located. I wanted to know where North St. was, where the crowd gathered on Windmill Ln. and read about the slums and graveyard on Chapel Lane.
It’s still hard for me to get over the fact that the Irish population peaked at over 8.5 million people in 1841 and then more than halved during the famine. The most shocking part? It still hasn’t recovered to this day! That is one impactful famine to still have an effect over 170 years later. It set off a string of events that led to mass deaths and emigration that lasted in Ireland for decades or maybe even a century.
The Hungry Road drew me in like no other book and enlightened me about an event I knew very little about. I now have a great respect for the famine and what the Irish had to bare from Great Britain in those times. The previous book I read about Ireland was great but it wasn’t as detailed and as well told as The Hungry Road.
There are a lot of places I now would love to visit in Ireland and see its beauty but now I really want to visit county Cork to see some towns that were so ravished by the famine. I know they don’t resemble those towns of the famine much anymore but I know they have a lot more of that history documented than I could ever find in the US.
Whether you’re interested in Ireland, the great famine, or anything else (or even not interested) then you should still read The Hungry Road. It was amazing, an absolute must read.
The Next Book
After reading The Hungry Road I’m not sure any book could compare in entertainment and historical value. But, my new book is a business book so bound not to be as entertaining.
For my next book I chose Fearless by Tim Kintz after at first I opened a sample book for one I had previously looked at and decided not to read. While I wouldn’t really say I’m a “leader” in my current position, some day I do hope to lead a team whether it’s my own business or at my current company.
So, I’m sure it will have some interesting and helpful information for me to either be more fearless in life or at least lead a bit better. It’s not a super long book, so I’m sure I’ll have it finished in a week.