The Great Hunger: Background information when reading Grace

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Grace

by Paul Lynch

Grace by Paul Lynch X
Grace by Paul Lynch
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    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2017, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 26, 2018, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Zoƫ Fairtlough

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
The Great Hunger

Grace is set in an Ireland devastated by The Great Hunger—the potato famine of 1845-1852, which occurred when three successive harvests failed due to blight, causing a million people to starve to death and at least as many to emigrate for a better life. Ireland, Britain and America have all been shaped by its political, economic and social effects.

The blight, Phytophthora infestans — literally "infesting plant destroyer" — had arrived in Ireland from the Americas many years earlier but its impact would not have been disastrous had it not been for the confluence of two factors: unusually cool, wet weather for consecutive years, and the population's heavy reliance on two potato varieties particularly prone to the blight.

All the rural poor, half of Ireland's population, ate potatoes almost exclusively for eight months of the year. This was because much of the land was worked by poor tenant farmers who needed a crop to sustain their family in winter and spring, ...

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