Did you know that after the Civil War an Irish-American army attacked Canada with the plan of holding it hostage and ransoming it for Ireland’s independence? It is no blarney. The self-proclaimed Irish Republican Army invaded Canada not just once, but five times between 1866 and 1871 in what are known collectively as the Fenian Raids.
In When the Irish Invaded Canada: The Incredible True Story of the Civil War Veterans Who Fought for Ireland’s Freedom (Doubleday, March 2019), author Christopher Klein tells the outrageous story of a band of Irish rebels who fled the Great Hunger, fought for both the Union and Confederacy in the Civil War, and then united to undertake one of the most fantastical missions in military history. With the tacit support of the U.S. government and inspired by a previous generation of successful American revolutionaries, this motley group managed to seize a piece of America’s northern neighbor, if only for a matter of days, and constructed a transatlantic framework that would prove essential to the establishment of the Irish Republic decades later.
Klein’s illustrated lecture will include images from this little-known coda to the Civil War. Copies of his book will be available for signature and sale after the talk ($30, hardcover).
CHRISTOPHER KLEIN is the author of four books, including Strong Boy: The Life and Times of John L. Sullivan, America’s First Sports Hero, The Die-Hard Sports Fan’s Guide to Boston, and Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands. A frequent contributor to History.com, the web site of the History Channel, Christopher has also written for The Boston Globe, The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Harvard Magazine, Smithsonian.com, and AmericanHeritage.com. He lives in Andover, Massachusetts. More at www.christopherklein.com.