How much can old newspapers tell us about what people thought in the past? Did the press reflect shared national perspectives on particular issues, and widely held beliefs and prejudices about other peoples, cultures and countries? How far did it act either to embody or to shape 'public opinion', and thus influence the formation of political positions and government policies?
This Fintan Lane and Donal Ó Drisceoil edited work is a welcome addition to the existing historiography. It concerns the Irish working class and politics over the course of a century. As the introduction points out, the attention of historians has not been directed towards Irish labour to the extent seen in other western European countries.
Angela McCarthy has written a useful book about Irish emigration to New Zealand, based upon 253 letters that passed between the two countries over a period just short of a century. This review discusses the author's methodology and findings through the perspective of two analytical tools, Alice's Letters and Shanacoole Exceptionalism.