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Irish Need Not Apply by Bob Gudknecht

Irish Need Not Apply

by Bob Gudknecht

361 pages
Irish in America suffer from discrimination and physical abuse.

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Category: Fiction:Historical
About the Book

Moses "Moze" Leamy, a cobbler, comes to America to escape brutal British overlords in Ireland and an impending famine. He experiences, as he settles in Philadelphia, an atmosphere of hate from anti-Irish elements that confine him, his wife and two children to one of the many hovels along the waterfront. Despite that, Moze expects to thrive along with his adopted country. But a campaign by forces of hate have other plans for Moze and the rest of the Irish community.

Moze fails to make a living repairing boots among the poor Irish. To avoid the rough gangs that unload the ships, Moze seeks the humbling job of cleaning fish. When the fishmonger hears his Irish accent, he threatens him with a big knife and orders him to leave.

Soon after, an Irish boy is found murdered. Moze and others ask why. Moze believes a neighborhood thief killed him. Some argue the victim had nothing to steal. The police and the public ignore the death of this "lowly" Irishman.

Facing starvation, Moze reluctantly seeks the backbreaking job of unloading ships. A gang of Irish haters, headed by Ethan, attack and drive them from the pier after accusing them of taking jobs from "real Americans." Still trying, Moze is astonished, considering his skills, to get turned away from a leather shop just because he is Irish. Now willing to work with pigs, Moze's Irish accent gets him chased from a farm.

Another Irishman is murdered. The policeman says the victim was just a "drunken Mick" and no investigation is conducted.

In a last resort to get work, the Irish make a long trek to a mill in a nearby town. They are hired but Ethan's gang attacks them on the way home and kill two of them. Back at their local tavern that night, they learn that Ethan also killed the first two because they were Irish.

Vowing to finish off the Irish, Ethan's gang team up with other Irish haters and begin their march to conduct an all-out assault on the Irish enclave.

The Mayor learns of the impending rioting and requests federal troops to intervene. Ethan steals a boat and tries to delay the ferry carrying the soldiers across the river to the city but Moze distracts Ethan and the ferry passes. Once ashore, the troops cannot get to the Irish enclave, which is now under attack, because of the spectators that jam the tiny streets. In a clever, last minute maneuver, Moze directs the soldiers to the battle and prevents a massive slaughter and total destruction of the Irish enclave. Still, 30 Irishmen are now dead and some houses are destroyed by fire. Ethan is killed when he tries to flee while survivors of his gang are rounded up and jailed.



About the Author
Bob Gudknecht is a 5th generation Irish-American who recently learned that his ancestors suffered hatred and discrimination in early Philadelphia. After publishing a non-fiction book (on forensic accounting) he decided to write this historical novel to tell this little known story.



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