Divergent Paths: the book. Now in paperback!

Paperback version now available! See the Manchester University Press website. Cheaper copies may also be available through Amazon and Ebay! 

The posts on this blog are based on research I’ve been doing on the Irish families who lived in Stafford between 1820 and 1920. I’ve recently published a book, Divergent Paths, on their lives in Stafford.  They were in many ways a microcosm of the wider Irish experience in Victorian Britain.

Book Cover FinalDivergent Paths uses family and digital history to see what happened to all the Irish families who settled for at least ten years in Stafford. It presents unique evidence about the lives of ordinary people and their varied experiences. Their fates were complex and often divergent. Many families integrated into the local population and became Staffordians. Others ultimately moved away. Some simply died out. Divergent Paths explores why the fate of the town’s Irish families proved to be so varied. In doing this it also throws light on Stafford’s broader history in Victorian times.

‘In this remarkable book the author gives … voice to generations of the type of people that do not ordinarily feature in history writing. (It is) unlike anything else in the canon of Irish migrant studies.

Herson’s approach brings out (the) diversity of experience, as well as the process of integration, sometimes resisted, sometimes enthusiastically adopted. His family biographies give fuller voice to the often-silenced female half of any family, as well as turning up a wealth of detail on working lives of all classes, genders and age cohorts in the process. The depth of research on show here is, at times, extraordinary.’ (Ciaran O’Neill, Trinity College, Dublin)

There is no book on Irish families in Britain to compare with this monograph …. an original contribution to the field.’ (Anonymous reviewer) 


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