By John Kelly
Henry Holt & Co., $32.00, 416 pages

The Great Potato Famine may be one of the bleakest chapters in Ireland’s history. The blight that hit the potato fields in 1845 triggered a domino effect that led to Ireland losing one-third of its population, with some dying slowly of hunger and pestilence, and others fleeing the continent.

The Graves Are Walking: The Great Famine and the Saga of the Irish People  relays devastating individual accounts of suffering, while also stepping back and looking at the larger picture of the moral and political attitudes of the time. Author John Kelly’s meticulous research is evident in the descriptions of the horror of famine and how the authorities and their agendas played a role in furthering this tragedy.

Reviewed by Alicea Swett