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Review of The Famine Plot: England's Role in Ireland's Greatest Tragedy
They say you should study your history or else re-live it. This book give an account of Irish history and mis-management during the 19th century when Ireland was riddled with famine and poverty. The English government at the time believed that poverty is a state that people choose. They had a laissez faire attitude to the Irish problem. In fact the governor, later rewarded with a title by Queen Victoria said that the only way to deal with the problem was reduce the population by allowing the people to die. During the Great Famine (in Irish An Gorta Mór) the population reduced by over one third, over1 million by starvation and 2 million by emigration. Most of the emigrants went to the USA, England or Australia. Many died en route, so the real loss of life due to the famine could be 2 million or higher. During this time, the country was exporting food, and the starving population are beaten and evicted from their homes while starving and watching food on the docks. (Note the song The Fields of Athenry tells of these times). The problem was that hunger relief was left to the landlords, many of whom did not live in the country (Absentee Landlords) and they were mostly too greedy to care. In the meantime, the Irish poor relied on the potato solely, and this failed. The truth is that there had been numerous failures in this crop previously, but no attempt was made to encourage alternatives by anyone in power. The author compares the UN definition of genocide to the actions of the British government, and found that the actions of he government was in fact genocide.