Barack Obama - The Road from Moneygall - Stephen MacDonogh
This excellent and diligently researched book is to be launched on Saturday 29th May in Ollie Hayes Bar, Moneygall and yours truly is delighted to be speaking at the launch. Rumour has it the Taoiseach, another Offaly man may be present. I was interviewed on a couple of occasions by Steve for the book and am delighted in however small a way to be associated with it. It is a cracking read and broadens our perspectives on the nature of Irish America, previously assumed to be almost exclusively Roman Catholic in origin. In highlighting Obama's maternal ancestral roots in the Anglican church (Church of Ireland) Steve has provided another important example of how this extraordinary politician embodies in his genes a diversity which allows him to bridge many of the bitter divisions that currently afflict our world. Obama himself looked at his complex origins in 'Dreams from my Father' - It has been suggested that this is the natural companion volume: 'Dreams from my Mother' in drawing out his maternal ancestry.
From the publisher's website:BRANDON BOOKS
A unique exploration of the president’s Irish ancestral origins.
In his presidential election acceptance speech, Barack Obama evoked a story of great change in America, and an America made up of many strands. In this book it is the strand of his own Irish background and ancestry that tells a story of emigration to escape hunger and of the struggle to build new lives in the land of opportunity.
"Our family’s story is one that spans miles and generations; races and realities," Barack Obama has said. “It’s the story of farmers and soldiers; city workers and single moms. It takes place in small towns and good schools, in Kansas and Kenya, on the shores of Hawaii and the streets of Chicago. It’s a varied and unlikely journey, but one that’s held together by the same simple dream. And that is why it’s American.”
But it is an Irish story, too. Falmouth Kearney, Obama’s great-great-great-grandfather, was born in Moneygall, County Offaly in 1831, lived as a child through the apocalyptic famine years, and left a decimated, devastated country for America in 1850, aged 19. Here we learn for the first time the story of the Kearney family, of the Ireland they came from and the state of County Offaly in the dreadful famine years.
We learn, too, of how two students met in 1960 and married and had a child: Ann Dunham from Wichita, Kansas, a direct descendant of Falmouth Kearney, and Barack Obama, Sr., a Kenyan from Nyang’oma Kogelo, Nyanza Province.
Steve MacDonogh, editorial director of Brandon, is the author of seven previous books, including the only book about publishing in Ireland, Open Book: One Publisher’s War.