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Quite suddenly in 1846, an unknown and uncontrollable disease turned the Irish potato crop - the sole source of nutrition for the vast Irish peasantry - into inedible slime. Appealing to the British governors and their absentee landlords for help or at least a small share of the abundance of the Irish farm products that were reserved for export to Britain, the farmers were met with indifference, eviction, starvation, and sickness. In less than two years, two million Irish - a quarter of the population - had died. Since the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when the British stripped Ireland of its religious and economic freedoms, hostility had been brewing, but the years 1846 and 1847 saw that hostility turn to true hatred. In this gripping account of the famine, the devastation of the Irish population, and the diaspora to America, Thomas Gallagher provides both an invaluable window into a pivotal period of Irish - and world - history, and gives readers the truest basis for understanding the hatred and violence that continue to fill headlines.