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After reading the captions next to each picture of this wonderful book, one cannot help but be reminded of the father’s speech in The Quiet Man. Mary Kate had come to ask advice about her new husband while he was trying to fish, and the good man said, “Ireland may be a poor country God bless us, but….” The rest of the quote is not part of my point. That most people thought of Ireland as a poor country was taken for granted. And by most of the pictures in this book, you can see it had validation. The thing that struck me the most was that no matter how poor the children in these pictures seemed to be, they were either blissfully unaware of that fact, or it just didn’t matter to them. Beautifully grungy, smudged faces grin at you from almost every page. These children really seemed to be truly happy, which goes a long way to justify the old saying that money isn’t everything. I’m sure they were hungry at times, cold at times and needed better clothes, but someone was making these children feel loved and cared for - whether it was parents or relatives.
Many of the photos show how things have changed in the world since the 1930s and '40s. It’s very interesting to see how things differ between then and now. Some things haven’t changed that much - jobs are still hard to come by. One photo shows a long line of men at the library, eager for the posting of any new jobs available. This shows that there was a will toward a better life, just not the means.
This book is a beautiful testament of the spirit of a great people and one that would be a treasure to own. It shows a slice of life that one may never otherwise get to experience and the reader will be richer for having read it.