Ireland's Exiled Children, Irish Americans and the struggle for independence

With the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising just three months away,Robert Schmuhl, professor of American Studies and Journalism at the University of Notre Dame, brings into focus the role of Irish Americans in the struggle for Irish independence. . Ireland's Exiled Children (Oxford University Press) tells the story of the Irish independence movement in America through the lives of four personalities---organizer and editor John Devoy, poet and journalist Joyce Kilmer (who adopted Irish identity), President Woodrow Wilson, and future Irish President Eamon de Valera. . Most disappointing is the hypocritical role of President Woodrow Wilson.  Revered for his advocacy of self-determination for the nationalities of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, Wilson was cold towards the cause of Irish independence.  Notwithstanding the large Irish constituency within his Democratic Party, Wilson decried the concept of hyphenated Americans.  While he made encouraging remarks to Irish-American leaders, he only informally and privately urged the British government to institute home rule (not independence) for Ireland. . Consequently, the Irish community showed little support for the League of Nations--Wilson's dream--and the 1920 Democratic Presidential ticket. . Wilson's failure to support self-determination for nationalities outside of Eastern Europe---such as the Irish, Kurds and Vietnamese, led to bloodshed throughout the twentieth century to our day. . The story of Eamon de Valera brings humor to the book.   Born in New York of an Irish mother and a Spanish father, it was rumored--but never conclusively proven--that de Valera escaped execution for his role in the 1916 Easter Rising because he held American citizenship.  Shortly after the Irish Rising, de Valera did a fundraising tour of America calling himself President of the non-existent Republic of Ireland. . And yes, de Valera broke out of a British jail.  A cake was smuggled to him.  Inside the cake was the key to jail house doors.
imgres-11 Robert Schmuhl