Dolan, a Notre Dame professor, has written a book that is both comprehensive and—at less than 400 pages—fairly manageable. The basic plot is well known: potato famine refugees rise to middle class respectability and political and cultural power. Dolan adds interesting details and his own authority to the story.
This book begins with an interesting exploration of Irish music and its origins and characteristics. From there it moves to an examination of the international dissemination and influence of this music.