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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Our Immigrants' Son by John Francis Patrick Murphy is an inspiring work of historical non-fiction. With details and records, he traces his family heritage from 1845 with his parents, then down through history. But this isn't a fictionalized genealogy alone. It's a woven fabric of events, lives, and contributions--wrapped in an entertaining story with the latter half offering advice on how readers can write their own family stories. The author takes artistic license with his lineage with stellar results. He shows how there are life and purpose to a family's past, and that we all have a personal history that we can get in touch with and appreciate. His parents were Patrick and Mary, immigrants coming by sea from County Waterford, Ireland to America's Boston, Massachusetts just prior to The Great Famine, searching for a new land and a new start. From there, the generations keep unfolding, through the Civil War, law enforcement, and other key milestones. The fabric of this story is sewn with faith, family, and patriotism and a lot of families can relate to these themes.
By telling his own family story, the author prompts you, the reader, to look into your own, so this immediately involves the audience in a way that most historical accounts don't. Murphy reminds us that every person has a story, every family has a story, and you can write it if you learn how. I like that one of the major themes of this book is that we wouldn't be here without our ancestors and that all of them contributed something to who we are as people and families. If you've ever held a piece of antique jewelry, clothing, or artifact belonging to an ancestor, then you may have wondered about the story behind it. Who was this person? What was he/she like? What were their daily activities? How did they fit into historical events? The work as a whole is a nice expression of the respect Murphy has for his family lineage. I admire the author's attention to research and detail, and highly recommend Our Immigrants' Son by John Francis Patrick Murphy.