Cover

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Title page, Series page, Copyright, Dedication, About the Author

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-x

In 1998, I fell in love. Although I had jumped through the requisite hoops in graduate school, attended many a conference, and published enough to earn tenure, I had never felt so academically enamored. The site was Charles Fanning’s Carbondale Symposium on the Irish Diaspora. ...

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Introduction: The Banshees

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pp. 1-17

Numerous books have been written about American feminism and its influence on education and society. But none have recognized, let alone demonstrated, the key role played by Irish American women writers in exposing women’s issues, protecting women’s rights, and anticipating, if not effecting, change. ...

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1. 1900–1960: Ahead of Their Time

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pp. 18-51

Irish American women writers have been defending their domain since they set foot in America in 1717. Whether they arrived before, during, or after the Famine, and regardless of their relegation to the lost generation, midcentury realists, or twentieth-century feminists, their mission has been consistent: through their writing, they protect their own. ...

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2. The 1960s: The Rise of Feminism

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pp. 52-85

The Eisenhower era provided a seedbed for American feminism. Whereas the war years had encouraged married women to leave their homes to support the war effort, the postwar years pushed them back. As chapter 1 outlined, a cultural and public relations blitz resulted in a “consolidated attack on women’s new-found freedom.” ...

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3. The 1970s: A State of Upheaval

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pp. 86-116

The 1970s were a decade of turmoil. Every year brought another calamity— from Kent State, Watergate, Vietnam, and Nixon’s resignation to Nixon’s pardon, the Iran hostage debacle, and Boston race riots—violence and disaster dominated the headlines, leading historian Randall Bennett Woods to describe this era as “the most tumultuous and troubling through which the United States had yet passed” (2005, 351). ...

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4. The 1980s: The War on Women

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pp. 117-151

Anyone who has read the Irish Canadian Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, will recognize its genesis in Ronald Reagan’s war on women. In Atwood’s satire, set in a near-futuristic theocracy, women’s rights have been stripped. They can no longer work, hold bank accounts, or walk the streets alone. ...

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5. The 1990s: Fin de Siècle

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pp. 152-185

Thanks to the tireless efforts of feminist groups, the 1990s began on firm footing. At the national level, Washington, DC, was full of PACs and women’s coalitions. Internationally, feminists were working toward peace, welfare rights, and health care for women with AIDS. ...

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6. The New Millennium: End of an Era?

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pp. 186-226

For many Americans, the al-Qaida attack on 9/11 marked the end of an era. Although the Taliban had bombed American targets before and George W. Bush had been warned they would strike again, 9/11 made the terrorist threat a reality. In the aftermath, research abounded on Arabs, Muslims, and Islam; terror and terrorism; and to a lesser extent, the impact on health and safety. ...

Works Cited

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pp. 227-252

Index

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pp. 253-290