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In a series of lively essays, this pioneering book proves that U.S. slang has its strongest wellsprings in nineteenth-century Irish America. “Jazz” and “poker”, “sucker” and “scam” all derive from Irish. While Demostrating this, Daniel Cassidy simultaneously traces the hidden history of how Ireland fashioned America, not just linguistically, but through the Irish gambling underworld, urban street gangs, and the powerful political machines that grew out of them. Cassidy uncovers a secret national heritage, long discounted by our WASP-dominated culture.
Published by CounterPunch and AK Press 2007. 303 Pages.