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Highly readable history looks at New York's Irish Catholic archbishops


This is the cover of "Sons of St. Patrick: A History of the Archbishops of New York from Dragger John to Timmytown" by George J. Marlin and Brad Miner. The book is reviewed by Eugene J. Fisher. (CNS)

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"Sons of St. Patrick: A History of the Archbishops of New York from Dagger John to Timmytown" by George J. Marlin and Brad Miner. Ignatius Press (San Francisco, 2017). 490 pp., $34.95.

This highly readable book, as the subtitle indicates, narrates the stories of the 10 archbishops of New York, all Irish, from John Hughes (1850-1864) to Timothy Dolan (2009 to the present), and including John McCloskey, Michael Corrigan, John Farley, Patrick Hayes, Francis Spellman, Terence Cooke, John O'Connor and Edward Egan. The volume has a picture of each, extensive footnotes and a helpful index.

Given the fact that New York had become by early 20th century the largest city in the country and that much of the increase in population was because of Catholic immigrants, especially from Ireland, this book yields insights on not just New York Catholic history but on American Catholic history as a whole.

The volume describes the discrimination against Catholics by WASPs (white Anglo-Saxon Protestants) against the Irish. It could have put this in better perspective by noting the similar persecution of other Catholics, such as the Italians and Poles, and especially of Jews, who also formed a large part of the population and development of the city of New York.

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