{Empty title} | The Nation

A quick aside to an otherwise spotless book review: it must not be forgotten that the one in eight Irish who died in the potato famine did not die from general famine. Rather, Irish sharecroppers were forced to grow export crops for their landlords and were allowed only the potato to eat. Thousands upon thousands of Irish died in ditches, their mouths stained green from eating grass, while their hard-grown cash crops continued to flow out of the country. The Irish starved in the mid-nineteenth-century, surrounded by food they were not allowed to touch. The blight they suffered was not merely an agricultural one.