In the 1840s, a million Irish citizens died of starvation during what became known as the “Great Hunger.” Taking up the desperate cause of his countrymen was a spirited and wealthy young orator named Thomas Francis Meagher.
Today’s guest, Timothy Egan, tells the remarkable story of Meagher’s life in The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero. After leading a failed uprising against British rule, Meagher found himself banished to Tasmania. Following a daring escape, he eventually arrived in New York City, where he was hailed as a hero by thousands of Irish immigrants. He went on to become general of the famed Irish Brigade during the Civil War and acting governor of the Montana Territory. The mysterious circumstances surrounding Meagher’s death in 1867 are still debated today.
Timothy Egan is the author of eight books, including The Worst Hard Time, which won the National Book Award, and the bestseller The Big Burn, about the devastating forest fires that raged across northern Idaho in 1910. In May of 2016, Boise State awarded Mr. Egan an honorary doctorate for his contributions to the humanities at our spring Commencement ceremony.